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Profit Players: Free transfer Sylvain Distin was one of Harry Redknapp’s great bargains at Portsmouth

This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.

When Liverpool began showing an interest in Sylvain Distin in 2007, after his Manchester City contract had come to an end, Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp started to get worried.

However, he and those at the top for Pompey managed to get a deal done, bringing the Frenchman, then 29-years-old, in on a free transfer, with the defender having missed just one Premier League game the season before, as reported by BBC Sport at the time.

Redknapp was quoted in the article as saying: “Last year when we showed an interest in him, his price was £5m, so to get him for free has got to be great business for the club.”

The Frenchman’s time at Fratton Park shows just why the manager was so keen to get him on board, as he played a total of 96 games for the club across two full campaigns, as per Transfermarkt.

The first of those was to be among the best in the club’s recent history, as Pompey went on to lift the FA Cup, with Distin at the heart of the defence for every single minute of their cup campaign, as the team conceded just one goal in all six of their games, while they also finished eighth in the league.

His second campaign saw the club finish 14th and they also made the UEFA Cup group stages – while this didn’t match Distin’s first term on the South Coast, he still played every league game of the season.

However, following speculation about his future, Distin eventually left Portsmouth after three games of the 2009/10 campaign, joining Everton for a fee of £5.3m, as reported by The Guardian at the time.

Considering Portsmouth would have had to pay just below that fee when he was in his prime, to get that sum for a player in his thirties was another great piece of business from the club.

The economic side of Distin’s arrival and departure from Portsmouth will have been satisfying for the club, but it makes it even better that he gave them some incredible memories between those two events.

Portsmouth fans, how fondly do you remember Distin? Join the discussion by commenting below…

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Profit Players: Free transfer Sylvain Distin was one of Harry Redknapp’s great bargains at Portsmouth
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