Sporting Lisbon captain Bruno Fernandes has told the Portuguese club that he wants to move to Manchester United this month. Fernandes has already scored 12 goals this campaign on the back of notching 27 last season and is regarded as one of the best talents in the Portuguese league.
The goalscoring midfielder has become the club’s primary target this month following recent results and injuries to key personnel such as Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba. Fernandes was an option for them in the summer but not considered a priority while the sliding scale of Sporting’s valuation also acted as a deterrent.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the 25-year-old’s decision to tell Sporting that he is ready to move if a deal is put in place is that he needs a new challenge. Record claim that club president Frederico Varandes and vice-president Hugo Viana arrived at the United offices on Friday to negotiate the transfer with United executive Ed Woodward, which could come as early as this month, though no fee has yet been agreed.
Sporting are looking for €70m, and the fact that they have made the effort of coming over to Manchester suggests that there is something concrete for them to work with. United have otherwise been tipped to now offer a £50m basic transfer fee, plus a further £15m in add-ons. The Telegraph claims still Sporting value the player up to £68m (€80m), with United thinking closer to £50m.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and assistant Mike Phelan watched Fernandes during Sporting’s defeat to Porto on Sunday and believe his general play and notable goalscoring record would prove a valuable asset to their threadbare squad.
Solskjaer was silent on report linking Fernandesto United on Friday. He said: ‘There is a lot of speculation all the time about us going to watch matches,’ he said. ‘Where I have been and when I have been somewhere is irrelevant. He is another player at a different club who I can’t speak about.’
However, Sporting coach Silas admitted on Friday: ‘I’m starting to think of alternatives within our team if Bruno doesn’t stay with us. I hope that doesn’t happen. In Portugal, unfortunately, we can’t keep the best players for long. Bruno is the best player in the league.’
United are still cautious with Sporting notoriously difficult to negotiate with but there is optimism from the player’s camp that a deal can be agreed.