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LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Premier League Portsmouth have won the race to sign former Manchester City captain Sylvain Distin on a free transfer.
The central defender has agreed a three-year contract at Fratton Park after deciding to leave City following five years at the club.
Pompey manager Harry Redknapp had been interested in signing Distin last season but the Frenchman, 29, opted to see out the final year of his deal at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Other leading Premier League clubs were also believed to be interested in acquiring Distin's services with Liverpool linked with a last-minute move.
"I've been down that road a few times before and to be honest I panicked when I heard about it," said Redknapp.
"But thankfully we struck an agreement with Sylvain and I am really pleased we've got him. It's great business for the club."
Distin said he was delighted to join an ambitious side and admitted: "Harry Redknapp was a big influence. I like the way his teams play and this is definitely a club on the way up.
"I was five years at Manchester City and made a lot of friends there. It was a tough decision but it was my decision and I am happy to stick by it."
Redknapp was also quick to quash rumors that England defender Sol Campbell, last summer's major transfer coup, would be moved out to accommodate Distin.
He said: "There is no way. Sol is still absolutely key for us. He has still a year to go on his contract and he's not going anywhere."
Distin has joined Portsmouth after five years playing for Manchester City.