Today in history: Sulley Muntari becomes Portsmouth record signing

Portsmouth Football Club on 30th May, 2007 signed Sulley Ali Muntari for a new club record for an undisclosed fee. This was confirmed by the club’s official website.

Muntari, 22 years then signed a five-year contract until 2012 and joins from Italian side Udinese. A left-footed central midfielder, Muntari has been a regular for Ghana alongside Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah since making his debut against Slovenia in 2002. He starred for his country in the 2006 World Cup and scored in a 2-0 victory against the Czech Republic. He again featured for the Ghana team  that  reached the quarter finals of the World Cup in South Africa to equal the record set earlier by Cameroon and Senegal, as African best performance in the mundial.

At 16 Muntari was already an integral part of the Ghana under-20 team and was a prominent member of the 2001 side that finished runners up of the FIFA World Youth Championship that year. The following season he signed for Udinese and after a season in the reserves was introduced to the big stage with a debut in the San Siro against AC Milan.

Muntari spent just a season at Fratton Park, before moving on to Inter Milan where he spent 4 seasons had a loan spell with Sunderland and later joined AC Milan.

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp said of Muntari: “I first saw him at the World Cup against Brazil and he was the best player on the pitch. I’ve watched him three times since and he has been very impressive.

“We tried to get him in the last two transfer windows but Udinese didn’t want to sell so we are delighted he’s finally coming to Fratton Park. He’s got a great left-foot and has great energy with the ability to run all day and, he’s a good passer of the ball too. Ghana have one of the best midfields in the world and he’s a regular fixture in their side. He’s a player with a big future.”

Muntari said: “Portsmouth is a fantastic club with class players such as Pedro Mendes, Sol Campbell, David James and Kanu and a great manager in Harry Redknapp, who is also a great man. I have been a Pompey supporter ever since they first wanted me a year ago and I’ve watched as many games as I could. The fans are great and they really love their football. I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them and helping the club make a push for European competition.”

Pompey’s previous record transfer fee was the £4.4m paid to Auxerre for Benjani Mwaruwari in January 2006.

Muntari joins Sylvain Distin and Hermann Hreidarsson as the latest addition to the Fratton Park squad.

However, Muntari joined Inter Milan in 2008.
He is now is now a free agent after being released by AC Milan.

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