Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is poised to sign former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros on loan from French champions Lyon.
And although the Czech Republic ace, who cannot get into the Lyon team, is unlikely to be cleared in time for Saturday’s fourth round FA Cup tie at home to Plymouth, he should be available for next Wednesday’s trip to Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Redknapp, who last week bought France midfielder Lassana Diarra from Arsenal for £5m, loaned left-back Lucien Aubey from Lens and sold versatile Matt Taylor to Bolton, is ready to dip into the French market again and confirms that Baros’ move could be made permanent at the end of the season.
He said: “He will make a terrific loan because he knows the English game and it would be nice to have him available this weekend, although there is international clearance and other details to be cleared up yet.
“But Peter Storrie (Pompey’s chief executive) has gone to meet Baros’ agent to do a deal and it’s a great opportunity to add more quality to our squad.
“We are still short of numbers with our players away at the African Nations Cup and one of them, Kanu, getting injured out there. We don’t know yet how bad that injury is but it seems to be his knee.
“I feel we still need somebody like Baros, who I believe was a Golden Boot winner at the last European Championships for the Czech Republic and I’m very hopeful we will get him.
“Lyon are a good side and they are overloaded with top strikers. The Brazilian Fred can’t get in their team either and will cost about 16 million euros. I think Tottenham are trying to buy him.
“If I can get Baros I might still look for another loan (before the end of the January transfer window) or buy somebody else if another club comes in and offers me silly money for one of my team.”
Baros has scored six goals in 22 games for Lyon, under the management of former Pompey boss Alain Perrin who swapped him for Aston Villa striker John Carew last summer. Baros, 26, cost Villa £6.5million from Liverpool two years ago.
Meanwhile, Pompey’s non-league neighbours Havant and Waterlooville could have an impact on the gate at Fratton Park on Saturday as they plan to take nearly 6,000 fans – despite a regular home attendance of around 500 – to their glamour FA cup tie at Liverpool.
Championship club Plymouth have taken up their full allocation of tickets for the Pompey clash but the Premier League club still have plenty available for sale at reduced prices of £25 and £15.
But Redknapp, who cited the “superb” backing of the Portsmouth crowd as one of his reasons for turning down a lucrative move to Newcastle two weeks ago, said: “Our supporters know what I think of them. They are tremendous and never let us down.
“We are going to do all we can to have an FA Cup run this year and also keep things going in the league. It would be fantastic for this club to go to Wembley and I would love to lead the team out there.
“But we’ve got to watch out we are not the latest victims of a shock result - as so many of the Premier clubs were in the last round.
“I’ll be putting out a strong team to face Plymouth because I’ve been on the wrong end and the right end of cup upsets in the past and I know what is the better feeling.”
Redknapp, who took most of his squad to Fontwell Park races this afternoon, has skipper Sol Campbell (back) and midfielder Sean Davis (foot) back in training after injuries, with Davis playing a full 90 minutes for the reserves in a 1-0 defeat by West Ham on Wednesday night.
He said: “If Sol’s fit he will certainly play and Sean should be in the FA Cup squad as well.”