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By ESPN Staff
Dec 18, 2006

Pompey scared off by £12m Fernandes price tag

Portsmouth's on-loan midfielder Manuel Fernandes will return to Benfica on January 2 after the Premiership club admitted they will not permanently sign him.

The 21-year-old, however, may not have played his last game for the club and could well be needed for the heavy Christmas programme by injury-hit Pompey.

It has emerged Benfica want £12million for the player who has won two full caps for Portugal but the fee is far too high for the south coast club although manager Harry Redknapp admits he is impressed by Fernandes.

He was left out of Saturday's 2-2 draw at Arsenal to avoid a permanent deal being triggered by his third consecutive Premiership appearance despite Pompey's consistent denial of the existence of a three-game agreement.

Redknapp, however, said: 'All I know is if he starts three Premier League games in a row, a permanent deal clicks in. I didn't do the deal. It wasn't my idea. I inherited it.

'But the fee is £12million and I don't want to pay £12million. I've spoken to Manuel about it and even he thinks the price is too high.'

Redknapp has also spoken up for Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak and is backing the 30-year-old Israel-based tycoon to invest more money in the squad.

Redknapp, who was scouting on Sunday in France where he has been linked with Auxerre's 21-year-old Moroccan-born defender Younes Kaboul, said: 'Sacha is a terrific young fellow and he's given me terrific support.

'We have a good relationship and he has never interfered. I think that if I went to him to get a couple of players (in January) he will be there. The owner will back me. That is not a problem.

'He didn't tell me not to play Fernandes at Arsenal. The player was ill anyway, but I wouldn't have played him on Saturday.

'He's a good player and for the right fee I would buy him. He's a young kid with potential, but I couldn't put my name to £12million for him.'

Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie has told the told the Portsmouth News: 'The fee, which was set by agents, was too much for us. So Fernandes will go back to Benfica next month.'

Fernandes scored on his Pompey debut in the Carling Cup at Mansfield but has made just five Premiership starts.

Striker Kanu had little chance to add to his nine-goal tally against former club Arsenal on Saturday and has infuriated Pompey by saying he will quit Fratton Park for a better offer in January unless he is given an improvement on his current one-year deal.

Kanu has mentioned Ajax, with whom he won the European Cup a decade ago, as a possible destination - even though there is no sign of an approach from the Amsterdam side.

Storrie confirmed: 'He is our player until the end of the season - when there is an option to renew his contract.'

Redknapp added: 'Where was Kanu in the summer? He has done a great job for us but nobody else wanted him when he was available on a free transfer at West Brom.'

Redknapp reveals he is 'just looking around for a little bit of quality' in the transfer market but believes Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe 'would be too expensive' and that Charlton's Darren Bent is 'being talked about at West Ham.'

He has also been linked with a loan-deal for Chelsea's £21million England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips but said: 'Who is going to give me anybody from the Premiership?'