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Aug 11, 2008

Portsmouth sign Tottenham centre-back Kaboul

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has made French defender Younes Kaboul his newest recruit after agreeing a £6million deal with Tottenham Hotspur. The 22-year-old centre-back signed a four-year contract after passing a medical at Fratton Park on Monday and should be available for next Sunday's Premier League opener against Chelsea.

Kaboul said: 'I came here because the manager has wanted me for two years. I met him two years ago when I was at Auxerre and I like the man because he gives you confidence.'

'It wasn't a difficult choice to make coming here. Everyone in the papers was saying I was going to Sunderland or Aston Villa but I only ever wanted to come here,' he added on the club's website.

The ex-Auxerre star was signed by former Tottenham boss Martin Jol last summer but struggled to make an impact under Jol's successor Juande Ramos, who preferred to play midfielder Didier Zokora at centre-back rather than Kaboul.

The Frenchman will also face a fight to break into the Pompey defence with regular centre-back pairing Sylvain Distin and Sol Campbell one of the few plus points to emerge from Sunday's Community Shield defeat to Manchester United.

Kaboul recognises he faces a fight for a place in the first eleven but remains unfazed.

'It does mean that there is a lot of competition for places but that's good - it keeps everyone focused,' he said.

'Also, I can play in midfield or at the back - I don't mind really.

'The important thing is that I'm here and ready to play. I really want to do a good job here.'

Kaboul refused to accept he was taking a step down by moving from north London to the FA Cup winners, and suggested his new employers would beat Tottenham to a place in top five.

'It's a good opportunity for me because the club has a lot of ambition,' he said.

'I think Pompey are a top-five Premier League side and I believe I can achieve what I want to achieve at this club.

'We've got the UEFA Cup as well and I want to go a long way in that.'

Pompey head coach Joe Jordan is delighted the young defender has joined the club and thinks he can blossom on the south coast.

'He's a player that wants to progress,' said Jordan. 'Lassana Diarra came here from Arsenal because he wanted to play regular football, and he has flourished.

'Kaboul wants to come here and do that as well.'

Kaboul had been on the verge of joining Sunderland but snubbed the chance to become the fourth Tottenham player to head to the Stadium of Light during the summer transfer window.

Instead he becomes Redknapp's second major signing of the close season following the £11million capture of England striker Peter Crouch from Liverpool.

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