On this day: Pompey plot move for Distin

Harry Redknapp and Sylvain Distin
Harry Redknapp and Sylvain Distin
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey aiming for place where normal business rules don’t apply

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On this day in 2007, Harry Redknapp was eyeing a fresh move for Sylvain Distin.

But he warned Pompey would face intense competition for the Manchester City centre-half.

Redknapp believed Distin, who was out of contract at the end of the 2006-07 season, was one of the best free transfers of that summer.

Pompey’s boss tried to sign the 29-year-old Frenchman in 2006.

And going into the summer of 2007, Redknapp wanted to make up to six new signings in the transfer window.

At the time, his priority was a couple of strikers and an attacking midfielder.

But he needed to strengthen in defence, too.

Glen Johnson’s return to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell and the likely departure of Andy O’Brien would leave the Blues with just six defenders: Sol Campbell, Linvoy Primus, Dejan Stefanovic, Lauren, Noe Pamarot and Djimi Traore.

Distin was declining to sign the new contract Manchester City had offered him.

His demands were high, but Pompey proved they were willing to pay big wages when signing Campbell and David James the year before.

Speaking to The News, Redknapp said: ‘I like Distin. He’s a good player, a great free transfer for someone.

'But I think he’s got plenty of offers.

‘He’s big, strong and quick – one of the best free transfers in the country this summer.

'He’s a top player.’

Newcastle, where Distin had a spell on loan before joining Manchester City for £4m from Paris St Germain were among the rival Premiership clubs said to be keen.

The day before, Distin took a swipe at Manchester City’s failure to challenge for trophies.

‘I am 29 years old and I still have ambitions. I don’t want to be fighting against relegation for season after season,’ he said.