Portsmouth swoop for three new players
Portsmouth have boosted their ranks with three new players on transfer deadline day with Hassan Yebda, Mike Williamson and Tal Ben Haim making the move to Fratton Park.
Benfica midfielder Hassan Yebda will spend the season on loan at the south coast club, while Williamson and Ben Haim have made permanent switches.
Yebda joined Benfica from Le Mans last summer and established himself as a regular squad member under Quique Sanchez Flores last term. The 25-year-old former France youth international has a contract with the Lisbon club until 2012.
Former Wycombe Wanderers centre-back Williamson moved to Fratton Park after an impressive eight months with the Hornets in the Championship and will cost around £3m. The 25-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year deal after leaving Vicarage Road.
Williamson is the second central defender to move to Fratton Park on transfer deadline day following the earlier arrival, subject to a work permit, of Tal Ben-Haim from Manchester City, also on a four-year deal.
"He's a young, hungry centre-half, a big lad who's uncompromising and does the basics first,'' Pompey manager Paul Hart explained of Williamson. "We've watched him play and he's shown great promise which hopefully he will build on under our guidance.''
Hart believes the arrival of Williamson will provide some much-needed strength in depth in his defensive ranks.
"We were a centre-half short before Sylvain Distin left but now we have Tal Ben-Haim and Mike Williamson,'' he said. "We signed Ben-Haim to fill a role and Mike has come here to prove himself as a front-line player.''
Williamson, who began his career at Torquay before joining Southampton, moved to Watford from Wycombe in January and went on to score three times in 23 appearances for the Hornets.
Ben Haim told Portsmouth's website: ''I'm very happy to be here at Pompey. It's a big challenge because after four games we have no points, but I'm ready for the challenge. 'I want to help Pompey get some good results and take them to the position where they belong. We've brought a few players in now and I believe that we can turn things around and win some games.
''I've watched a few of the games and we've been unlucky to get beaten in all of them. That's why I'm confident that we can improve quickly. I've come here to give 100% in each game and no less. I'm sure that's the same for all the lads.
''I'm sure that every player who goes on the pitch will play with his heart which is the most important thing for the fans.''