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By ESPN Staff
Aug 4, 2006

Vargas sold on Portsmouth thanks to Solano

Peruvian defender Juan Vargas is close to completing a £1.6m move to Portsmouth - with a glowing recommendation from his international team-mate, Newcastle's Nolberto Solano.

Vargas, first seen in action by Pompey manager Harry Redknapp on a DVD recording, has flown into England after meeting club representatives in Madrid and it seems a deal will be done if the 22-year-old passes a medical.

It would be Redknapp's first cash-signing of the summer having added only Chelsea right back Glen Johnson and Wigan reject David Thompson to the payroll on season-long deals since new owner Sacha Gaydamak agreed to sanction a reported £30million-plus transfer budget.

Vargas told the Portsmouth News: 'I still have to complete a medical before I sign.

'I know Portsmouth were fighting relegation last season but they are trying to build a good team.'

And Vargas has already been voted a massive Premiership hit by Newcastle midfield star, his Peru team-mate who said: 'A person called me who works directly with the Portsmouth manager. As a person and player, Vargas is excellent and I gave good references on him.'

Vargas' arrival will put pressure on left back Matt Taylor who starred in Pompey's great escape from relegation last season.

Right back Brian Priske, the Danish star who also played a key-part in the survival-run under Redknapp, has already returned to Belgium and joined Club Brugge, having previously been bought by former manager Alain Perrin from FK Genk.

And another Perrin signing, centre back Andy O'Brien, has been told he also has no place in next season's plans.

The £2million former Newcastle defender is interesting Birmingham and Derby after making 32 starts last season before a hamstring injury ended his season.