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Portsmouth sign strikers Nugent and Utaka

11 July 2007 20:19

PORTSMOUTH, England (AFP) - Premiership side Portsmouth completed Wednesday the signing of strikers David Nugent and John Utaka on four-year contracts for undisclosed fees.

England international Nugent, 22, has joined from Championship club Preston North End for a fee reported to be six million pounds after the north-west side failed to win promotion to English football's top division.

Nigeria's Utaka has been signed from French club Rennes and can play as either a striker or a winger.

"He's quick, strong and skilful, a real handful. He's got pace and runs, he's versatile too," said Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp of Utaka.

Nugent had been linked with a move to both Sunderland and Everton, two of Portsmouth's Premiership rivals, before opting for the south coast club.

"He's scored goals in the Championship and right through his career," Redknapp added. I feel a natural goalscorer like him can score goals anywhere. I looked at him for a while and every time I liked what I saw."

Nugent won his first England cap as a goalscoring substitute in the European Championship qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona.

Redknapp had brought in five other new players before the arrival of Nugent and Utaka and Redknapp said: "I think it gives a sign of how far we've come. We've signed Sylvain Distin, Hermann Hreidarsson, (Sulley) Muntari and now Nugent this summer. We are full of quality."

Portsmouth finished ninth in the Premiership last season, just missing out on qualification for the UEFA Cup.

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