Pompey to complete midfielder signing

Nigel Atangana. Picture: Dave Haines
Nigel Atangana. Picture: Dave Haines
Milan Lalkovic. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Pompey v Walsall: Pre-match talking points

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Nigel Atangana will today be unveiled as a Pompey player.

Andy Awford has succeeded in his pursuit of the Hawks midfielder, with the Blues paying an undisclosed fee.

The anticipated move had been held up by discussions with the Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) since the start of last week.

Under the terms of coming out of administration and being given the Football League’s ‘golden share’, Pompey have been prohibited from buying players while outstanding legacy debts remain.

But those sanctions can be lifted should league chiefs and the PFA – the sole creditor – choose to grant permission.

The Blues required that go-ahead to sign Atangana, who was a contracted player at the Hawks. And yesterday the PFA joined the Football League in giving their approval to remove the final obstacle.

That was on the back of Tuesday’s sale of Sonny Bradley to Crawley, with 50 per cent of the nominal fee helping to clear even more debts ahead of schedule.

And the 24-year-old will this morning be declared a Blues player.

Speaking of his admiration for Atangana, Awford said: ‘l don’t just sign players for the sake of it.

‘I watched Nigel a lot of times last year.

‘I must have seen Havant play eight to 10 times last year and he featured in those games.

‘I sounded Lee (Bradbury) out straight away. I am friends with him and talks have been ongoing.

‘Lee gave me permission to speak to him.

‘We did it all properly and he wants to come.’

Atangana made 43 appearances for the Hawks last season, scoring five times.

In the process, he was crowned the manager’s player of the year and players’ player of year at the end of season awards.

A host of clubs have been monitoring the Frenchman.

But the Cosham-based player trained his sights on Pompey, with the club’s close relationship with the Hawks also aiding negotiations.

Bradley’s exit provided the coffers with a timely boost to meet the price tag put on Atangana’s head.

The chief sticking point, however, was persuading the Football League and the PFA to ease their transfer restrictions.

They took into account Pompey’s good financial state at present – a position which has allowed the club to pay debts well ahead of schedule.

Those debts were initially set to be cleared in July 2016 but that date has now been brought forward to December 2015 and is continuing to fall.

Both bodies were wary of allowing the Blues to pay a transfer fee, considering the monies still owed to former players.

Yet ongoing progress on the repayment front and the fee involved in snapping up Atangana from their neighbours won them over.