Date: 18th December 2006 at 6:57pm
Written by:

The rumours started circulating some weeks ago that not all was well with Manuel Fernandes and Pompey. This weekend saw rumours increase that he would soon exit Fratton Park, this has now been confirmed.

The exciting and highly rated Portuguese International has hardly featured for Pompey since arriving in August in a loan deal from Benfica, ahead of what was expected to be a permanent signing in January for a fee anywhere between £4 and £10 million depending on what reports you would read! As it is he will now return to Benfica in January

His lack of involvement regularly raised concerns from fans, with him often going several games without even being a part of the match day squad. Having played the previous two matches it was expected that he would feature again against Arsenal at the weekend then rumours started filtering trough that perhaps there was a problem with the finances available to Harry Redknapp and he was under pressure NOT to play him.

It has now been revealed that apparently a clause put in the loan agreement meant that should Fernandes play three matches running we would automatically have to pay a £12 million fee for the 20-year-old, an amount that is crazy even in today’s market for a largely unknown and realistically untested talent especially when the amount would have been paid by Pompey, which would have been three times that of the current transfer record. Harry Redknapp said.

“The fee is £12m and I don’t want to pay £12m.”

“I’ve spoken to Manuel about it and even he thinks the price is too high.”

“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.”

Obviously a £12 million fee is a fee agreed by with the club (by someone past or present?) and one that we would have to pay regardless, as if this wasn’t the case surely we would merely kept playing him and every time the third game approached we’d leave him out and just pick him up for a smaller fee in January? As it is he will now go back to Benfica in the new year unless this saga takes yet another twist, which is unlikely.

This latest setback raises concerns that perhaps Sacha Gaydamak doesn’t have the funds we felt he did but although it does leave you slightly worrying as with Pompey you never really know what is what as more often than not there is something lurking round the corner, but £12 million is a lot for any player and if he or Redknapp doesn’t want to pay that for Fernandes then it doesn’t mean he hasn’t got it, it merely means he doesn’t choice to spent it here.

The whole situation has, for lack of a better phrase “stank from the very beginning”, Why clauses such as the “£12 million” one have been agreed we’ll never know, but you can almost guarantee this won’t be the last we see of Fernandes in the Premiership, no doubt he’ll be back sooner rather than later possibly wearing a Manchester United shirt!