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Pompey’s top scorer, Erik Huseklepp, today departed to join Championship rivals Birmingham City as the financially troubled South-Coast club attempted to free up some wages, but Pompey replaced the Viking with a loan move for West Brom midfielder Scott Allan.
The Norwegian international was brought to the club by Steve Cotterill following CSI’s takeover and spending spree during the summer, costing the club around £1.5m, signing from Italian club Bari.
Huseklepp made his very brief Pompey debut as a second-half substitute away at Bristol City, replacing Liam Lawrence for the final five minutes, but injected pace in to the side straight away.
Erik the Viking, he was fondly nicknamed by the Pompey fans, scored his first Pompey goal four games later in great fashion – a 93rd minute winner against Blackpool, and what a stunning volley it was.
He’s made 28 appearances in all competitions for Pompey this season, with six goals to his name he is Pompey’s leading scorer, but whilst the energetic winger-come-striker is an influential player and a key part of Pompey’s starting line-up, he also takes up a good chunk of the wage bill that the Blues are trying to slash drastically.
Although he isn’t the top earner (thought to be Tal Ben-Haim), Huseklepp’s deal was agreed during the summer when the club expected to have a new found wealth under the CSI ownership so is thought to be in the region of around £30,000-per-week.
Huseklepp told the Birmingham City FC Official Website that he was said to leave Pompey: “It was with a heavy heart that I left Portsmouth because they treated me fantastically and the fans were great with me.
“But the club came to me with this and said that they needed me to leave because of the financial difficulties they are in.”
The Viking now joins Birmingham on-loan until the end of the season, with an option to extend it to the play-offs if Birmingham need him. It is thought there is also an option to buy the forward at the end of the season.
Despite the Blues losing one of their few players, it didn’t take Pompey long to replace the Viking in terms of numbers, with an emergency loan from West Bromwich Albion for Scottish midfielder Scott Allan.
Allan, 20, arrived at the Hawthornes in January for £300k from Dundee United and is yet to make a first team appearance for the Baggies. However, with Appleton’s strong links with his former club, the Premier League outfit have agreed to help out Pompey and loan Allan on an initial one-month deal.
The young Scot will also join another West Brom player on-loan at Fratton Park, George Thorne, who said on Twitter: “Scott Allan’s coming to join me on loan at Portsmouth! Welcome him Pompey Fans!”
Allan went on to thank the Pompey fans himself for the warm welcome on Twitter: “Thanks people. Also the weather is outstanding! Looking forward to wearing the red white and blue.”
In Other News….
Our friends over at Voice of Portsmouth believe that Hayden Mullins is being chased by Reading and Tal Ben-Haim is wanted by Celtic, whilst Benjani could join former Pompey goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan at local rivals AFC Bournemouth as the Blues look to get even more players off the books, sparking a massive fire-sale at the club.
The Sun are claiming Sam Magri could be bought by Liverpool for £500k after impressing on a one-week trial at the Premier League giants. It is also expected that if the deal is completed, Magri could be loaned back to his childhood club to gain first team experience and help the cause.
Lastly, Pompey midfielder Kelvin Etuhu’s initial contract expired on Monday and as of yet, we still haven’t heard if the Football League have approved an extension on midfielder’s contract after joining on a free-transfer.
Published on Friday 24 February 2012 10:00 Michael Appleton believes Erik Huseklepp’s departure could allow Pompey the breathing space to find a new owner.
But the Blues manager admitted he is unable to rule out more players following the Norwegian out of Fratton Park.
Appleton believes Huseklepp’s exit for Birmingham represented sensible business in the face of the club’s dire financial position.
The 36-year-old moved quickly to land Scott Allan on loan from West Brom, to fill the void created by the exit of the Blues’ top scorer.
He insisted the door is not shut on Huseklepp returning, with his deal at St Andrews running until the end of the season.
Birmingham will pay an additional fee for his services if they win promotion, with Pompey getting his £15,000-a-week wages off their bill.
Allan arrives from West Brom for an initial 28-day period, with the possibility of an extended stay.
The Blues will pay the Baggies a portion of his wages, whenever his stint with Appleton’s men comes to a close.
Appleton believes the move made sense on all sides.
He said: ‘It’s a situation where, from our view, it works with the financial situation we’re in.
‘It’s also a fantastic situation for Erik.
‘It was a decision that ultimately had to be made.
‘I’ve spoken to Erik two or three times since and he has loved his time here.
‘At the end of the day he’s doing the football club a huge favour by leaving on a short-term basis.
‘It may enable us to have more time to find an owner.
‘I don’t think the chapter is quite closed on Erik yet, though.
‘I had to act quickly and Scott Allan is a fantastic talent and a young lad.
‘He’s someone I was aware of at West Brom. I watched him a couple of times and they got him in January from Dundee United.
‘If we get rid of one player on x amount and bring in another on a hell of a lot less, it’s attractive from our financial situation.
‘We aren’t getting any kind of financial benefit.’
Appleton added: ‘You can’t rule it out (more players leaving) because the window shuts on March 22.
‘If people do leave I’ll have to try to use my contacts to get a player of the same standard or better – probably on about 25 per cent of the money!’