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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 31, 2006

Kranjcar joins Cole at Pompey

Portsmouth completed a deadline day double deal by signing Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar for £3.5million deal on the back of a £500,000 move for former England striker Andy Cole.

Cole, 34, has signed a two-year-deal after leaving Manchester City, and the fee could eventually rise to £1million depending on his number of first-team appearances.

He will add much-needed firepower to an attack which currently lacks injured Lomana LuaLua.

However manager Harry Redknapp's most exciting signing could prove to be that of 22-year-old Kranjcar.

He signed a four-year deal after Portsmouth's medical staff were flown out to Zagreb to supervise his routine physical examination.

Kranjcar, the son of Croatia's World Cup coach Zabo Kranjcar, is with his national squad ahead of this weekend's European Championship qualifier against Russia.

He is due to win a 25th cap for Croatia and becomes Redknapp's ninth signing of the summer.

On Wednesday, Portsmouth agreed a deal with Portugal's Benfica on a year-long loan for midfielder Manuel Fernandes.

The 20-year-old could see him eventually make a permanent switch to Fratton Park in a club record-busting £7million switch - provided he recovers from a groin injury that is currently troubling him.

Redknapp has also signed goalkeeper David James from Manchester City for £1.2million, Sol Campbell (Arsenal), David Thompson (Wigan), Kanu (West Brom) all on free transfers and Glen Johnson on a year-long loan from Chelsea.

With Johnson and LuaLua facing length absences due to ankle injuries, and midfielder Pedro Mendes recovering from the crude challenge by Ben Thatcher at Manchester City, Redknapp badly needed to boost his squad.

Now he has finally spent a substantial portion of the reported £30million which new owner Alexandre Gaydamak made available in the summer, on a mixture of experience and youth.

Kranjcar is rated one of the best young players in Croatia and captained his country as a teenager. Portsmouth turned to him after losing out to Aston Villa in the race for Bulgaria's Stilian Petrov.

Cole has performed his entire career at the very top of English football, coming through the Arsenal youth ranks before going on to enjoy major success at Newcastle and Manchester United.

After winning four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League at Old Trafford he moved on to Blackburn where he spent two-and-a-half seasons before spells at Fulham and Manchester City.

Cole, who has 15 England caps, is the second-highest marksman behind Alan Shearer in Premiership history.

He has not played since mid-February following two operations on a knee injury but had notched 10 goals in 23 appearances for City last season.

He told Portsmouth's official website: 'It's an opportunity for me to play for another two years and I hope to do my best for Portsmouth, score a few goals and get the club into the top 10 which is what they're aiming to do this season.

'The Portsmouth fans are electric and I know Jamo (David James), I know Sol and I've played with David Thompson as well which is always important when you come to a new club because you can fit in straight away.

'I know the club are trying to push forward, buying players and trying to start something new and I want to be a part of that.'

• Portsmouth completed their third signing of deadline day by snapping up forward Roudolphe Mbela Douala on a season-long loan from Sporting Lisbon.

The acquisition of Douala, 27, follows deals earlier in the day for former England striker Andy Cole and Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar.

Although the deal for Douala is initially temporary, Portsmouth have secured an option to sign him on a permanent deal.

Douala is capable of playing wide or as a striker and has won 13 caps for Cameroon.

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