Manchester United have been linked to Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes for some time and reports today suggest the club is ready to make a bid for him.
Even before the long-term injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, United were short of quality in midfield, but bringing in players in this position is now a necessity if we are to achieve anything this season.
Fernandes’ manager at Sporting Lisbon, Silas, has today responded to the reports that he could soon be heading to the Premier League.
“Bruno is a huge player, and these players have a lot of interest in the market,” he said. “We know that he will always be widely spoken about and sought after by big clubs. I don’t like to think about this, but I’m starting to think about alternatives within the team, in case Bruno doesn’t stay with us. I hope this does not happen, as he is very important to us, but the truth is that we have to start thinking. In Portugal we can not keep the best players, and Bruno, I said before being here, is the best player in the League. Losing the best player in the league will always be difficult. It will not be easy to find alternatives, but it is our job.”
Media in Portugal claims that Sporting president Frederico Varandas traveled to London today, accompanied by sporting director Hugo Viana, to discuss the transfer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mike Phelan were reportedly in Portugal last weekend to watch Sporting’s 2-1 defeat against Porto, although during Friday’s press conference the manager refused to confirm interest.
“We go back to speculations and we do go and watch games all the time,” he said. “When I’ve been and where I’ve been is irrelevant. [Fernandes] is another player in a different club I can’t speak about.”
United were linked with the 25-year-old in the summer and he was in tears following Sporting’s 5-0 defeat to Benfica in the Portuguese Super Cup final, two days after reports emerged that he had asked to leave the club, fuelling the idea it was his final game at the club. He denied the rumours at the time and United briefed the press that they weren’t interested, while Jorge Mendes claimed that the Sporting captain would leave by the following summer “at the latest”.
Reports suggest that Sporting would be looking for a fee in the region of £60m-£70m for the player.
James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Donny van de Beek are other midfielders that United have been linked with over the past few weeks but Solskjaer has been reluctant to promise any transfers citing the difficulties of signing players in the January window.