Portsmouth Now Rising as Contender in International Football

Scott MachaCorrespondent IJune 11, 2008

Over the last few years Portsmouth have snapped up an incredible number of former Arsenal players for several positions in the team. Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Lauren and Kanu are only the beginning of Redknapp's Arsenal cast of purchases.

However, Portsmouth are now a much larger and stronger club and their recent purchasing trends point to this, as if winning the FA cup and gaining their first entry into Europe didn't.

Recently Gael N'Lundulu, a youngster at PSG, turned down the offers to join Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton to move to the South Coast:

"The FA Cup winners are reported to have seen off competition from Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton in the chase to sign the 16-year-old, who snubbed the chance to stay in Paris after the club failed to offer him a professional contract."

This could be a sign of the things to come from Portsmouth. Showing a proper interest in the academy is the first step to building a prominent European team. Add in the potential transfers of Sean Wright Phillips, Patrick Vieira, and Peter Crouch, as well as the continued excellence of Lasanna Diarra, a potential top four finish could await. Yes, a bit optimistic, but they would have been in strong competition for it at the end of the season had they replicated their AWAY form at home.

Next season should see a strong run in the UEFA Cup, a good showing in both domestic cups and an improvement on last season's best ever Barclays Premier League points total. This is based on squad merit alone... add in the Redknapp factor and who knows what else is possible?