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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 5, 2006

D'Alessandro wants to stay with Portsmouth

On-loan Argentinian midfielder Andres D'Alessandro has told Portsmouth he wants to stay at Fratton Park next season.

But Pompey would probably have to break their £4.4million transfer record fee - paid for striker Benjani Mwaruwari - to sign the diminutive South American star from German club Wolfsburg.

The 25-year-old is seen by manager Harry Redknapp as central to a tilt at European qualification next term after this season's miracle escape from relegation.

But Wolfsburg claim at least two Bundesliga rivals are interested in matching their asking price for the player, believed to be £5million.

D'Alessandro does not want to return to Germany after falling out with the club's head coach and said: 'I've been playing in Europe for three and a half years, and my time at Pompey has been the best.

'I'm really happy. I want to stay. I like the club both on and off the pitch. I get on really well with the players. I don't know what's going to happen. There are other clubs interested but my choice is to stay here.

'Harry Redknapp wants me and I want to play for him. He was the main reason I came here. And I would like Portsmouth to be a side not fighting near the bottom of the Premier League but in the top half of the table, aiming for a place in Europe.'

D'Alessandro, whose child was born recently in Portsmouth, grew up in Buenos Aires and was a pizza delivery boy and an apprentice plumber.

His team-mates are keen to see him settle on the south coast and midfielder Richard Hughes said: 'There were few players who were as animated and and happy as he was on Saturday night when we clinched our Premiership safety at Wigan.

'I would love to see him around next season because he is such a quality footballer and his contribution has been phenomenal.'

Redknapp added: 'Andres has run his little legs off for us. He says he has never done so much running until he came here but he's happy to do it and I'm happy we could sign him on loan. It would be great to get him long-term.'

The manager is likely to rest some of his squad - Mwaruwari, captain Dejan Stefanovic and Hughes - who have played through pain in the second half of the season.

Striker Lomana LuaLua is still a doubt with his injured ankle and will face a late fitness test.

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