On this Day: Glen Johnson poised for Portsmouth move... Fredi Kanoute tops Redknapp's wish list


Sunday, 16th June 2019, 9:00 am
Glen Johnson

Glen Johnson on is way to Pompey (2006)

On this day in 2006, Glen Johnson was poised to become Pompey’s first summer signing.

The 21-year-old Chelsea full-back was ready to join Pompey on a year-long loan. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Glen Johnson

It would end a six-month chase for a player Harry Redknapp had been targeting since he returned to Fratton Park.

Johnson was understood to be already looking for somewhere to live in the Portsmouth area.

Chelsea were initially reluctant to loan the right-back to a rival Premiership club.

The champions were looking to send him to one of the top Dutch sides.

But Redknapp persuaded them that a season in a Pompey side on the rise was a much better option for the player.

Johnson was also keen to work with the Pompey boss again after coming through the youth ranks under him at West Ham.

Redknapp used Brian Priske and Andy Griffin at right-back for Pompey the previous season.

But Johnson would sweep straight in as first choice once his Pompey deal was sealed.

Chelsea did not want to sell Johnson despite his lack of first-team games during the 2005-06 season. 

Jose Mourinho still saw him as part of his long-term plans at Stamford Bridge – but with a year on the south coast key to his development.

Johnson was heralded as a future England star when he signed from West Ham for £6m in 2003 on a five-year contract – Roman Abramovich’s first Chelsea capture.

But he had made just 34 Premiership starts for Chelsea in that spell.

Johnson made just four top-flight appearances for Mourinho the previous season, with William Gallas and Paulo Ferreira preferred in his right-back spot.  

Kanoute jumps to head of Redknapp’s wish list (2007)

Fredi Kanoute moved to the head of Harry Redknapp’s striker hunt. 

And the Mali international was keen on a move to Fratton Park. 

Redknapp was in Spain to run the rule over the striker.

But Pompey faced competition from Newcastle for his services. 

Kanoute played for Sevilla as their Primera Liga title dreams were dashed after being defeated 1-0 by Villarreal.

The 29-year-old had been a massive hit that season in Spain, scoring 28 goals in all competitions.

That has made him the second highest scorer in the country.

Redknapp confirmed he went to see the game.

He was keen on landing two strikers to boost his attacking options, but explained the hunt was proving difficult.

Redknapp was also said to be running the rule over Kanoute’s strike partner, Brazilian Luis Fabiano.

He said: ‘It was an interesting game. I wanted to see what was around.

‘I do need to get a couple of forwards in, but they’re not easy to find. 

‘I’m looking around everywhere for strikers. Finding them is the hard bit.’ 

Kanoute was a striker Redknapp knew all about after he signed him for West Ham in 2000. Redknapp paid £3.6m to land the player from Lyon.

Kanoute moved to Spurs in 2003, before joining Sevilla for £4.4m in 2005.

The player’s agent, Christophe Mongai, said the striker would be keen on linking up with Redknapp once again. 

He said: ‘It’s true Newcastle are interested and so are Portsmouth.’   

Redknapp reluctant to go on Euros spending spree (2008)

Harry Redknapp was set to avoid the temptation to go on a Euro spending spree.

The Pompey boss was wary about shelling out over-inflated prices for players on the continent this summer.

And that looked likely to halt him from scouring the European Championships for the players to improve his squad.

Redknapp felt there would be few bargains to be had among those on show in Austria and Switzerland.

He was also acutely aware that prices for those who impressed in the tournament would rocket.

Shinawatra backs ‘close friend’ Al Fahim to do wonders for Pompey (2009)

Sulaiman Al Fahim was backed to lead Pompey into a bright new era – by the man whose Blues link had threatened to scupper the deal.

On-going speculation over the involvement of Thaksin Shinawatra had cast a shadow over the Arab property tycoon’s bid to become the Blues’ new owner. 

Any involvement from the former Thai Prime Minister in the takeover would have put paid to the deal as he would not pass the Premier League’s fit-and-proper person’s test. 

That was after he was convicted of corruption in Thailand and sentenced to two years in jail.

Despite the link, though, Shinawatra had once again disputed claims he had any role in the takeover at Fratton Park after similar denials from executive chairman Peter Storrie and Al Fahim.

Instead, the former Manchester City owner had thrown his support behind Al Fahim’s ambition – after admitting the Arab was a ‘close friend’ of his.

The duo struck up a friendship while Al Fahim was heading the Abu Dhabi United Group’s takeover of City.

And Shinawatra believed his friend could have a massive impact once the Pompey process had been completed.

At the time he said: ‘I wish Dr Sulaiman the very best of luck with Portsmouth.

‘I think it is a club with great potential, and one that I believe he will do an excellent job of developing.

‘I will be watching the club’s future every step of the way – from my television screen.

‘I have nothing to do with Portsmouth FC in any shape or form.

‘It isn’t me, it never has been. I hope that this clarifies the position once and for all. 

‘I consider him (Al Fahim) a close friend, and earlier this year he told me he was looking to invest in a Premier League club himself. 

'I gave him some advice and wished him well – that was the end of the conversation.

‘Myself and Dr Sulaiman have spoken many times since about football, though our discussion has been on whether Diego Maradona is a better footballer than Lionel Messi.

‘It is correct that some of my associates may have helped with the introductions for Dr Sulaiman. Why not? 

‘I know a lot of people in soccer, and was more than happy to pass on any contacts I could. That doesn’t make them investors. 

‘Again, I am not involved, nor are my associates.’ 

But he pointed out there was no guarantee the players who would shine would be up to the rigours of the Premier League.

Redknapp said: ‘I’ve been watching the European Championships, but I don’t know if I will be going for players out there. 

‘There may not have been a lot of movement for players so far because of the competition.

‘But I don’t know how many players there are out there who we could go for, who would make a difference.

‘It’s difficult when it comes around to a tournament and you are looking to bring in people. 

‘You turn up and see a player play brilliantly in one game. 

‘Just because he does enough in one game doesn’t mean he’s the right player. 

‘Someone may have a brilliant European Championships, but that doesn’t mean he will be right for the Premier League. 

‘We’ve seen it happen so many times before.

‘Someone plays well in the competition and lots of people are interested in him.

‘His value goes through the roof and he ends up going for a lot of money, but doesn’t do anything again.’

Pompey’s player hunt had so far focused on those who knew the top-flight terrain in this country.

Richard Dunne and Peter Crouch remained two top priorities, with Redknapp keen to add their nous and quality. 

Redknapp had also confirmed he was a fan of Chelsea’s Shaun Wright-Phillips and Barcelona’s want-away striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, who spent eight years in England prior to his move to the Nou Camp. 

Redknapp said: ‘I don’t see me going for anyone at the European Championships at the moment.

‘There are plenty of people here who we are looking at.’   

Ritchie: We’ve Cot to get Steve (2010)

Matt Richie hailed Steve Cotterill as the man to guide Pompey back to the Premier League.

And the in-demand midfielder underlined his desire to be part of his team’s bid to return to the big time.

The Blues were hoping to appoint their new boss in the next 24 hours, with Cotterill the hot favourite to fill the post despite interest from Hull.

Ritchie spent part of the 2009-10 season on loan at Notts County, before Cotterill guided the Magpies to the League Two title.

The Gosport-born player believed the boss could have a similar impact at Fratton Park in the coming campaign.

Ritchie was in negotiations with Pompey over a year’s extension to his existing one-year deal.

Sides were weighing up the 20-year-old but his ambition was to stay put and make the breakthrough at the club he loved.

Ritchie told The News: ‘There’s been a few sniffs around me but, to be honest, I want to stay here.

‘I’ve been offered a two-year deal and there is a bit of negotiating to do still.

‘Hopefully we can get that sorted and I can play for Portsmouth in the Championship.

‘I want to prove myself and be a local boy playing for the team he loves to play for. 

‘I will give 120 per cent every week. Hopefully I will get the chance to prove myself.

 ‘It’s going to be a big year for me in the Championship.

‘Hopefully I can play and turn myself into a big player for us. 

‘There’s talk about Steve Cotterill. A lot of clubs want to take him away from Portsmouth but hopefully he will come here.

'I’d left Notts County in January before Steve Cotterill came in.

‘He did a brilliant job there, though. He did a lot of work to get them promoted.

‘Hopefully he’s had good reports from Notts County about me, if he does come in. 

‘I’m sure he’d do a great job for us like he did at Notts County. 

‘I think he helped them go on an eight-match unbeaten run after he arrived. 

‘They won the league after that run. 

‘It was a bit like how it was at Portsmouth at times last season but he went in there and did a great job. I hope he comes here. 

‘Then I want to impress him and hopefully get into his side.’