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Arsenal vs. Utd: Mutual hatred

50-50 Challenge 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 29, 2008

Under-strength Pompey bid for Brazilian Motta

Portsmouth have made a bid to sign Brazil's former Barcelona midfielder Thiago Motta.

And although manager Harry Redknapp admits to being pessimistic about the chances of securing the player from Spanish club Atletico Madrid, he has not ruled out up to two more foreign loan signings before Monday's transfer deadline.

Motta, who is back in action after a knee operation in February, has been on trial with Redknapp's squad and played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Sunderland earlier this week.

Atletico are apparently willing to release him and Redknapp said: 'He's been training with us and I liked him.

'I think Peter Storrie (Pompey chief executive) has made him an offer of a short-term contract but I don't know where he is at with that.

'He has had a bad knee but if that's all right he's a good player.

'If you ask me, though, I do get the feeling it is not going to happen.

'But I saw him play against Chelsea two or three years ago for Barcelona and he was fantastic that night in the middle of the park.'

Redknapp knows he has to boost his depleted squad but he can only go for foreign loans after taking two players from English clubs - the Premier League maximum - in Chelsea's Ben Sahar and Arsenal's Armand Traore.

With midfielder Niko Kranjcar out long term following an ankle operation, and Sulley Muntari and Pedro Mendes sold to balance the books, Redknapp is without three of his FA Cup-winning midfielders - just ahead of the draw for the first round proper of the UEFA Cup in which Pompey make their debut next month.

Redknapp said: 'I don't know for sure who I can get but we need some. The only way I can buy is if I sell two or three who I am willing to let go - but they don't seem keen on moving.'

Striker Jermain Defoe (virus) and new winger Jerome Thomas (back) have added to Redknapp's worries ahead of tomorrow's trip to Everton - after unsurprisingly remaining pointless from the first two games against Chelsea and Manchester United.

He insisted: 'I still have a good squad and we will still be back up there this season. Mid-table or above is still the aim.'

But the omens are not good, with Pompey's first six league games against sides from whom they gleaned just one point in the corresponding fixtures last term.

And tomorrow they come up against Ayegbeni Yakubu at Everton, who passed the 100 goals mark in English football last week.

The Nigerian was brought to Pompey by Redknapp but sold during the manager's brief absence at Southampton.

Redknapp said: 'He's a fantastic striker. I know all about him but why they sold him here after I left I'll never know.'

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