January transfer window: Pompey’s best buys

Pedro Mendes celebrates scoring against Manchester City in March 2006
Pedro Mendes celebrates scoring against Manchester City in March 2006
Brandon Haunstrup, left, and Danny Rose in action for Pompey reserves against Bristol City today Picture: Colin Farmery

Harris: Pompey reserves deserved more

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Some winter recruits made a major impact or changed the course of a season at Pompey. Steve Wilson remembers some January business...

YAKUBU AIYEGBENI

Benjani Mwaruwari

Benjani Mwaruwari

The Nigerian striker became the final piece in the promotion jigsaw for Harry Redknapp in Jaunary 2003 when he arrived on loan from Maccabi Haifa.

After scoring four minutes into his full debut against Grimsby, Yakubu’s pace and power gave Pompey an extra attacking dimension.

He scored seven goals in 14 games to help Pompey to the division one title and sealed a permanent move that summer.

‘The Yak’ scored 19 goals in Pompey’s first season in the top flight and netted 43 goals in 92 appearances before joining Middlesbrough in summer 2005 for £7.5m.

Portsmouth's Nadir Belhadj (left) and Ricardo Rocha (right) battle for the ball with Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov

Portsmouth's Nadir Belhadj (left) and Ricardo Rocha (right) battle for the ball with Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov

BENJANI MWARUWARI

One of the key components for Pompey’s extraordinary escape from Premier League relegation in 2006, Benjani arrived from Auxerre in January for £4.1m.

The Zimbabwean striker failed to score in his first 14 appearances but showed an exceptional work ethic and was taken to heart by Pompey fans.

It was fitting that Benjani scored in the 3-1 success at Wigan to help seal survival.

Yakubu

Yakubu

He started the 2007-08 campaign in fine form with 12 goals in 27 appearances before Redknapp sold him to Manchester City for around £8m in January 2008.

Benjani was reluctant to leave but a deal was lined up for Jermain Defoe to replace him, although the Zimbabwean did return to Fratton Park for a short stint in 2011-12.

PEDRO MENDES

Without his season-changing swing of the boot, Pompey would have been relegated from the top flight in 2006.

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp celebrates with Lassana Diarra after Pompey win the FA Cup

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp celebrates with Lassana Diarra after Pompey win the FA Cup

Having joined as part of a £10m treble deal from Spurs alongside Noe Pamarot and Sean Davies in January 2006, the Portuguese midfielder added creativity to the side.

But it’s that stoppage-time strike against Manchester City in March 2006 that still remains one of those ‘I was there’ moments as it proved to be the catalyst for survival.

Mendes scored five goals in 68 appearances and was part of the FA Cup-winning side before he left for Glasgow Rangers.

LASSANA DIARRA

One of the major reasons behind Pompey’s FA Cup success in 2008 arrived in January from Arsenal for a fee of around £5m.

The French midfielder gave the side greater strength and could dictate games with his tackling ability, defensive protection and passing.

He was the stand-out performer in the 2008 FA Cup final success.

Diarra also scored Pompey’s first goal in European competition against Guimaraes in the 2-0 win at Fratton Park, one of three goals in 32 appearances before Real Madrid signed him for around £19m in January 2009.

A short spell but what a player.

RICARDO ROCHA

Things didn’t look too promising for the classy Portuguese defender when he first arrived at Pompey in January 2010.

A 5-0 defeat at Manchester United was followed by two successive red cards in his next two games.

But his performance against Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final victory that season remains one of the finest individual displays in recent times.

He became a firm fans’ favourite during a three-year association, returning to the club under Guy Whittingham in November 2012 after leaving earlier that summer.