Date: 8th July 2011 at 8:41pm
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Luke Varney has left Pride Park to join Portsmouth in deal believed to be around £750,000. Varney had made only fifteen appearances for The Rams after joining on loan from Charlton Athletic in November 2008, initially on loan before making the deal permanent in January 2009 for a fee of £1million. He spent a large portion of the 2009/10 season out on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and was a surprise signing for Blackpool when he joined on a season long deal at the start of the 2010/11 season. Nigel Clough had gone on record saying that he would listen to offers for the player after he returned to the club but he praised Varney`s attitude during his time at Pride Park telling the Derby Evening Telegraph:

‘Luke leaves with our very best wishes. Despite not being in our first-team plans, he has been a great professional and shown an exemplary attitude on and off the training pitch.’

Varney scored five goals in a total of thirty appearances last season in Blackpool`s eventful single season in the Premiership but their relegation on the final day may have put paid to the transfer being made permanent. It became clear he still did not feature in Clough`s plans for the new season and there was reportedly interest from a couple of clubs before Portsmouth stepped in and agreed a fee with final touches put on the deal yesterday. Pompey boss Steve Cotterill was pleased to the complete the deal to bolster his squad and praised the players flexibility and pace:

‘Luke gives us good pace, he gives us a goal, he will score with a header and is a good athlete who works hard. What he can do is play all the striking positions, which is what we need. He can play off the left, he can play up top. We need flexibility and Luke gives that. He scored a couple of great goals last year for Blackpool, so it will be nice if he can rattle in more like them.’