Kanu Nwankwo played for Portsmouth in the English Premier League from 2006-2012 but that wouldn’t have happened if Harry Redknapp had hearkened to a advice from Arsenal legend Tony Adams In 2006 .
In a revealing chat with TALKSPORT , Harry Redknapp the man who signed Kanu Nwankwo at Portsmouth disclosed how Tony Adams told him Kanu Nwankwo was 48 in a bid to discourage him from signing the Nigerian forward .
” 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 ” Redknapp began his narration .
” Looking through the book and trying to find somebody . Suddenly I sit with Tony Adams, what about Kanu ?
According to Redknapp , Tony Adams replied ” He’s 48 .” At the time (2006) , Kanu Nwankwo was 30 years old but Adam’s wasn’t sure of his fitness level so advised Redknapp against signing him.
Harry Redknapp was not convinced with Adams advice so made further enquiries from people including the Arsenal Physio’s where Kanu had played from 1999-2004 .
” I said whoa , he said no (I should not sign him ) . I spoke to the physio’s at Arsenal , they said he’s fit ,” Harry Redknapp Continued.
” I saw him at West Brom last year , I saw him twice and he played well. 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 . ”
At the time , Kanu Nwankwo was a free agent following the expiration of his contract with West Bromwich Albion. Redknapp was ready to take the gamble on the lanky forward .
” Fantastic, Monday morning he turns up , I say we have a reserve game this afternoon , ” Redknapp disclosed details of his first contact with Kanu .
” I’m gonna play you in the reserve against Cardiff . It’s not a trial , it’s just to make sure your fitness is good and you’re ready . (We) 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 . Play in the game (Kanu ) two goals , two worldies and we sign him . ” Harry Redknapp concluded .
Kanu Nwankwo proved a worthy addition to the Pompey set-up , scoring a brace on his debut and finishing the season as the clubs top scorer with 12 goals .
Papilo as Kanu Nwankwo is fondly called was instrumental to Portsmouth’s FA Cup truimph in 2008, scoring the winner in the Semi Final and final to secure an historic truimph for Harry Redknapp and Portsmouth .
A worthy reward for the gaffer who sticked to his conviction by signing Kanu Nwankwo despite the odd “48 year old ” comment by Arsenal legend Tony Adams .