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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Portsmouth tie up deal for Mullins and loan Pele

Portsmouth have made a double signing with the arrivals of Hayden Mullins from West Ham United and Portuguese midfielder Pele on loan from Porto.

Former Crystal Palace midfielder Mullins has agreed a three-and-half-year contract at Fratton Park, while Pele has joined until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal.

Both players are in contention to make their Pompey debuts in Tuesday's Premier League match at home to Aston Villa.

The signings continue manager Tony Adams' busy month in the transfer market with Jermaine Pennant arriving on loan from Liverpool last week and Nadir Belhadj agreeing a permanent deal.

Jermain Defoe and Lassana Diarra have also left the club.

Mullins' move, for an undisclosed fee, comes just two days after his final appearance for the Hammers, as a substitute in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Hartlepool.

The 29-year-old has spent the past five years at Upton Park after an £800,000 move from Palace and has made 21 appearances this season.

Mullins told the club's website: ''It was a little bit of a shock. I trained on Sunday with West Ham after the game on Saturday and then it all happened very quickly, but I'm very pleased to have joined.

''It was a great experience to have worked under Gianfranco Zola but it's a great challenge here to come and work with some really talented players.

''I enjoyed my time at West Ham but I was there for five years and thought that maybe it was time for a change. Portsmouth are a club with a lot of history. They won the FA Cup last year, so I'm very excited to be here.''

Pele, a Portugal Under-21s international, is a 21-year-old attacking midfielder who has previously played for Inter Milan and scored in last year's Italian cup final.

Pompey have reached an agreement with Porto that will allow them to buy the player at the end of the season should he impress.

Pele said: ''It's always been an ambition of mine to play in England, to play in the Premier League. I've always watched English football, and the crowds are always great here.

''England is the home of football, so it's fantastic to get this opportunity.''

Portsmouth executive chairman Peter Storrie has reported both deals were concluded quickly.

Storrie said: ''Tony and I decided to move for Hayden on Saturday night. We got hold of West Ham on Sunday morning, and I think they were a bit surprised that we wanted to get the deal done so quickly.

''Hayden's an experienced player who has played exceptionally well against us in the past. He's a guy with immense experience in the Premier League, and that's what we need in this situation.

''He wanted regular football, because he has been in and out of the West Ham side.

''Pele's an exciting young talent. He did well for Inter before joining Porto. But there was a change of manager at Porto, who switched it around a bit, and the boy was desperate to move.

''I spoke to him on Saturday evening, and he was on the plane here within 24 hours - which tells you exactly about his eagerness. He's an expensive player, so it's a deal with an option to buy - so we can both have a look at each other.''

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