The January transfer window for Pompey ultimately saw six departures and six arrivals – which included a late loan deal for Birmingham City winger Viv Solomon-Otabor.
The Nigerian winger made the switch to the South Coast in search of game time after a frustrating start to the season at St Andrew’s. Despite his struggles in the Second City, Solomon-Otabor could be a great acquisition for Pompey.
He was picked up by Birmingham in 2012 after spells with Crystal Palace and Hampton & Richmond Borough. After time out on loan and in the youth team, Solomon-Otabor was finally given a chance at St Andrew’s and impressed Birmingham fans with his raw pace, skill and strength on the ball. His wonderful solo goal against Fulham was a particular highlight during his breakout season.
Solomon-Otabor won the “Birmingham City Young Player of the Season” award as a result of his exciting performances.
Unfortunately for the winger, the 2015/16 season was where his time at Birmingham went sour. An unsuccessful loan move to Bolton Wanderers summed up a disappointing campaign. His next loan move, to Blackpool, was much more impressive as he played his first full season in senior football. Solomon-Otabor scored 5 goals in League 1 and headed back to Birmingham with his head held high.
Many Blues fans expected Solomon-Otabor to play a bigger role within the squad this season but he’s failed to break into the first team. Apart from a last minute goal against Norwich and a promising cameo performance at West Ham, the Nigerian hasn’t seemed that lively thus far.
He only made a handful of appearances in the matchday squad but hasn’t been allowed to leave on loan until now because Birmingham’s squad was so thin. Solomon-Otabor has been patiently waiting on the sidelines and now it’s his time to shine.
Pompey fans can expect a quick, energetic and skilful winger. His contract at Birmingham expires in the summer so he definitely has a point to prove at Fratton Park.
Solomon-Otabor is an old fashioned winger who likes to stay wide and whip in balls to the strikers. Saying that, he was used as a striker at Birmingham occasionally and has the capability to cut it and score a few for himself.
Solomon-Otabor has showed promise throughout his career but has never had a long run in Birmingham’s first team. As with every loan move, it is a gamble but Viv’s attitude is brilliant and he’ll be desperate to impress.
He rejected Serie B giants Palermo to join Pompey which shows that he believes Fratton Park is the best place for his development. On relatively low wages, Kenny Jackett has made a very clever acquisition as he hopes to guide Pompey back up the Football League.
Photo: Johnny Moore