Storrie firm on Fernandes deal
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Peter Storrie has underlined Portsmouth's intention to sign Manuel Fernandes on a permanent deal.
Peter Storrie has underlined Portsmouth's intention to sign Manuel Fernandes on a permanent deal - subject to him regaining full fitness.
Storrie told the Portuguese press in midweek that he was looking into sealing a permanent deal for the international midfielder - who is currently on loan from Benfica at Fratton Park.
Now Storrie has underlined Portsmouth's commitment to seal a move for the 20-year-old - who is reportedly coming under the gaze of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Storrie, though, insists that no club - like United - could hijack their own bid for Fernandes, although he added they would only sign him once he had proved his fitness.
The reason Fernandes only joined on loan was because he struggled for fitness over the summer, as Portsmouth aimed to tie up a permanent deal.
"The option of signing Manuel is with us," he confirmed.
'No club can come in and take him. If he is fully fit and playing regular Premier League football, he will sign for us.
"He will not come to the club until we are certain he is 100 percent fit.
"First of all, he's got to be fit to play 90 minutes of Premier League football. We hope that can be in the next couple of weeks.
"Then we will want to make sure, by seeing him play in a few more Premier League games.
"We've got to be certain he's 100 percent right before we make a commitment.
"We're not judging his ability. It's purely on medical grounds. But if he satisfies those criteria, we would be absolute idiots not to sign him.
"He's young and exciting. He has the potential to be one of the best players around.
"He's one of the best talents to come out of Portugal."
Although Fernandes is still not fully fit, Storrie is confident the starlet will prove himself soon.
'He's had a serious problem with his groin. It was a nasty scar-tissue injury," he continued.
"Our medical team have been absolutely brilliant nursing him back to fitness - the signs are good.
"Manuel has been superb. He's been patient.
"He knows his own body. He's being sensible, and so are we. We hope and pray his groin will be okay."
Meanwhile, Welsh international Richard Duffy is being strongly linked with a loan move to Queens Park Rangers.
Duffy has found his chances limited on the South Coast since moving from Swansea in 2004 and he has spent much of his time out on loan in recent seasons with Burnley and Coventry - twice.