Portsmouth are keen to tie up a permanent deal for Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes amid reports Manchester United are waiting to hijack the deal.
Pompey haggled over a fee with Benfica for the gifted Fernandes, 21, during the summer but after he failed two medicals due to a groin injury it was agreed he should come to Fratton Park on a year-long loan - with a clauses allowing Pompey to send him back or buy him permanently depending on his fitness.
A club record £7million transfer now looks the likely outcome for Portsmouth if Fernandes, who has appeared as a substitute in the Premiership and scored a spectacular goal in a Carling Cup tie at Mansfield, proves his fitness.
But manager Harry Redknapp is clearly anxious to complete the formalities after picking up vibes that the Red Devils are circling.
He says: 'I think it is the case that the deal clicks in for us when Fernandes plays a few more games.
'I think he plays X amount of games and then we take up the option to buy him, but I'm not absolutely sure because I don't do the transfer negotiations here.
'Our chief executive Peter Storrie will have the details and as far as I know it is a tied-up deal.'
'Fernandes is a fantastic player and sooner or later he is going to have to play for us. Although he has been out a long time with his injury, people know him here in this country.
'He played Champions League for Benfica last season at Old Trafford and people from there certainly know about him.
'But we are hoping he will become a top, top player for us and I'm convinced that will happen.'
Fernandes, who has already won two full Portugal caps and has been likened to 'a young Paul Ince' by Redknapp, was surprisingly missing from the Pompey squad which lost 2-1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
There had been suggestions he might start the game after an exciting cameo appearance as substitute against Bolton the previous Monday when he hit the pass of the match - a stunning 50-yard cross-field delivery, straight to feet, in the last 15 minutes.
But Redknapp chose another new signing, £2.5million Croatian Niko Kranjcar, instead and he was also highly impressive.
Meanwhile Redknapp believes on-loan right-back Glen Johnson could be an England regular for 10 years - unless he stops himself achieving that.
With Manchester United's Gary Neville, 31, possibly coming to the end of his reign on the right of the England back-four, Redknapp sees Johnson, 22, as the ideal successor - even though last season after five full caps he was demoted back to the under-21 side and was sent off against France.
Redknapp said: If Glen doesn't become an England regular for the next 10 years then there has got to be something wrong - with him.
'He has got everything a full-back needs and nobody in the country can play the position as well as him. He has been outstanding for us this season.
'He came from Chelsea because they have so many star players and he wasn't getting a game and I think he feels important with us. He loves it here and I love having him here.
'When I talked to him before the start of the season he was thinking about going to Feyenoord in Holland on loan but I told him that no matter how well he played there it would not help him with England because he would be out of the public eye. He could become the forgotten man.
'Luckily he saw my point and decided to come to us instead.'