Kanu Nwankwo shone brightly at Portsmouth and helped them win the FA Cup in 2008 but the story of his transfer to Pompey remains funny and evergreen one
Harry Redknapp, the manager responsible for signing the Nigerian to Portsmouth has revealed the backstory of Kanu’s move to the club.
Redknapp on Talksport narrated how Arsenal legend, Tony Adams who worked at Portsmouth at the time discouraged him from signing the Nigerian, saying he’s already 48 years old.
“Kanu… we had injuries at the start of the year, playing Blackburn in the first game of the season. I haven’t got a fit striker on the books. Looking through the book and trying to find somebody. Suddenly I sit with Tony Adams, what about Kanu? He went ‘Harry, he’s 48,” Redknapp narrated.
“I said whoa, he said no (I shouldn’t sign him). I spoke to the physios at Arsenal, they said he’s fit, I saw him at West Brom last year, I saw him. He did it right. I saw him twice and he played well. He went naah. Anyway we go through the book and can’t find anybody. Eventually I ring up Kanu. ‘Kanu do you wanna play this year? He said he’d love to play. ‘Do you wanna come to Portsmouth?’ Yeah. I told him come down tomorrow Monday morning and we can do a deal that he can come down and play. Fantastic, Monday morning he turns up, I say we have a reserve game this afternoon, I’m gonna play you in the reserve game against Cardiff. It’s not a trial, it’s just to make sure your fitness is good and you’re ready. Get you fit for the big game on Saturday against Blackburn.”
“I said he can have his medical after the game. Don’t do the medicals. Do it after the game. If it’s rubbish, we are following the medicals. Plays in the game, two goals, two worldies and we sign him,”
Kanu went on to start the season with two braces against Blackburn and Middlesbrough respectively and also won the FA Cup with them.
”Against Blackburn, I put him on the bench, he came on in the second half and scores two goals, we win 3-0. Against Middlesbrough, he starts and scores two goals, we win 4-0. We get back to the airport at Southampton Airport and he’s sitting by his luggage and suddenly his body went in spasms. He can’t move. We lift him up, put him on a wheel chair and wheel him to his car and drive him home.
”Five years later, he still played for Portsmouth, and scored the goal in the semifinal of the FA Cup and the only goal in the final. Five years later he’s still playing for Portsmouth. If Tony was correct, he’d then be 53 in his final year.”