Portsmouth have chance to attack transfer market

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart finally looks set to be able to attack the transfer market after Sulaiman Al Fahim announced his takeover of the club has been completed.

It had seemed a consortium led by Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie was set to broker a deal for the troubled south-coast club following the apparent breakdown of Al Fahim's bid.

However, Al Fahim - appointed chairman at Fratton Park after passing the Premier League's fit and proper person test - claims he has now formally taken full control, meaning Hart will be able to strengthen his squad ahead of the September 1 deadline.

Although there will not be limitless funds, Pompey are now expected to move quickly.

Watford forward Tommy Smith is understood to be close to finalising a £2m switch to Fratton Park, as is Lens' Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane.

However, Pompey could face a battle to keep hold of captain Sylvain Distin, who has told Hart he wants to leave Fratton Park - with Aston Villa and Everton potential destinations.

Al Fahim is expected to give more details of his intentions for taking Portsmouth forward at a press conference later this week ahead of the home game against Manchester City.

Today's statement confirmed a deal with Sacha Gaydamak had been finalised.

"Devondale Investments, the current owner of Portsmouth FC, and Al Fahim Asia Associates Ltd. (AAA), a company fully owned by Sulaiman Al Fahim, chairman of the board of Portsmouth FC, have reached an agreement whereby AAA has become the new sole owner of the club," the statement read.

"Sulaiman Al Fahim welcomed this agreement and looks forward to helping the club build on its impressive history and achieve new successes in the Premier League.

"The chairman of the club would like to extend his gratitude to the players, staff and the supporters of Portsmouth FC who have shown an extraordinary level of commitment and loyalty to this great club."

Hart successfully kept Pompey up last season having taken over originally on a caretaker basis following Tony Adams' dismissal.

However, his efforts on the field had been hampered by the continued uncertainty behind the scenes.

England duo Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch were both sold to balance the books.

Pompey lost all three of their opening Premier League games, but returned to winning ways in the Carling Cup last night against Hereford.

Distin was left out of the Pompey team because of a foot injury.

Richard Hughes was among the scorers in the 4-1 win last night over the League Two side and maintains the players just have to focus on the job at hand rather than what may happen off the pitch.

"You can't worry about it - you have to keep on going," he said.

"We are Portsmouth players and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say we are proud to be Portsmouth players, but team-mates change.

"That is what happens in football.

"It is beyond the control of us as players. It is not our concern.

"We have got our own jobs to focus on and that is all you can control in football."

Hughes added in the Portsmouth News: "The club is in charge of who comes and who goes.

"I am sure that if there are players who leave between now and the end of the transfer window, replacements will be brought in."