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Johnson exit to open door for Cranie

A few eyebrows were raised last week when Liverpool forked out £17million for Portsmouth full-back Glen Johnson.

The transfer even prompted Reds boss Rafa Benitez to admit he had paid over the odds for the England international before stressing there were many factors which made the deal the right one for the club.

“Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more,” said the Liverpool boss. “You can’t compete in the top four of the Premier League unless you spend some money.

“We were looking for a player of quality and also somebody who is British because of the new Champions League rules. Glen Johnson fits both categories”.

Portsmouth, as you might expect, were quite willing to let Johnson depart not only because they made close to a £13million profit on the player they signed from Chelsea in 2007, but because they have a ready-made replacement in Martin Cranie.

The 22-year-old England Under-21 star looks all set to play a bigger role at Fratton Park in the coming season after starring for Stuart Pearce’s England youngsters in Sweden.

Cranie was a solid performer for the Under-21s and scored in the semi-final against Sweden as they made it to the European Championship final only to lose out to Germany.

The right-back looked assured and composed on the ball and the former Southampton man looks destined to add to the two FA Cup appearances he made last term for Pompey.

The Yeovil-born defender did spend a four-month loan spell at Charlton and played 19 times for the Addicks in the Championship, but he is thought very highly of at Portsmouth and it seems like a good Premier League bet that this season looks set to be his breakthrough year in the top flight.

Tue 30 June, 2009
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