Portsmouth’s demise from the Premier League to the fourth tier of English football was one of the most predictable catastrophes in modern football.
A string of bizarre transfer activity carried Portsmouth through the previous decade with Harry Redknapp leading the charge.
From Andy Cole, Kanu, Glen Johnson, Sol Campbell, David James and Benjani, to David Nugent, Defoe, John Utaka, Sulley Muntari and Crouch, Portsmouth have seen some of the best-known names in football play for them at any given point.
However, once the money dried up and Sacha Gaydamak decided to escape the south coast, leaving behind mounds of debt, financial uncertainty hit hard, and the club found themselves falling down the football leagues faster than they could keep up (see The Guardian for in-depth story).
Now they’re fighting their way back up, fans will surely be reminiscing about what could have been and the players that could have changed their fortunes.
But, with so many transfer stories from their past, who could have been the gamechanger all those years ago…
Edin Dzeko – 2009
Yes, that is serial title winner Edin Dzeko, who’s currently heading the line for Roma; the man who contributed endless goals for Manchester City – a team who, quite obviously, had a little more success in the transfer market than ill-fated Pompey.
According to the Daily Mail, the Bosnian star was due to replace outbound Jermaine Defoe in 2009.
Dzeko was only 22-years-old at the time and could be bought by manager Tony Adams for the bargain price of £5m.
At the point of interest (January) Dzeko had netted 5 times in 15 games for Wolfsburg who, unbeknown to the world, were set to win their first ever domestic title.
He finished that season scoring 36 goals in all competitions.
Edin Dzeko’s return that year was nothing short of amazing, but we ask ourselves: would he have been enough to save Portsmouth from the drop?
Portsmouth were rotting from the core and problems off the pitch far outweighed those on it. No amount of talent could have saved them from the inevitable collapse they were due to face. And, realistically, what guarantee could recruiting another player who likely had no appreciation for the cultural significance and history of the club have given them. The boardroom had already tried that method before with little to no success.
Edin Dzeko – the one that got away.