If Bruno Fernandes wins the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year award this season then Manchester United will have to pay Sporting Lisbon another £4.2m.
Under the terms of the 26-year-old’s transfer in January 2020 the club agreed to a pay the Portuguese club a number of payments if milestones were met.
United paid an initial fee of around £47m for the midfielder, though add-ons increased the potential overall cost to £67.6m.
Ed Woodward and Co have already had to finance an additional £4.2m after Fernandes started 25 games for United. They also paid Sporting another £4.2m last year when they qualified for the Champions League.
It means they have forked out around £55m to Sporting so far and they are due to pay another £4.2m if Fernandes is voted top dog this season.
The bookies have the goalscoring midfielder as their clear favourite to win the gong. And he looks well placed after scoring 22 goals and setting up 13 more in 40 appearances this season.
United will also be liable to pay another €5m if Fernandes is in the top three for the Ballon d’Or during his time at United. That add-on is capped understood to be capped at €15m, according to The Times.
Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had no hesitation in allowing United goalkeeper David De Gea to return to Spain for the birth of his first child.
It means Dean Henderson is preparing to line up against rivals Manchester City.
Ole quick to release De Gea
The long-serving number one was conspicuous by his absence from Wednesday’s drab goalless league draw at Crystal Palace due to what were repeatedly described as “personal reasons”.
De Gea has since confirmed that his partner gave birth on Thursday, with the club giving their first-choice keeper permission to return to his homeland despite the potential coronavirus-related quarantine headaches.
Solskjaer expects him to be back soon but could not give a timeframe as Henderson prepares to line up in Sunday’s tough trip to relentless runaway Premier League leaders City.
“It’s a fantastic day for David,” the United boss said. “Of course when you become a dad that’s probably the best possible feeling you can have.
“The ones who have been lucky enough to have that feeling know exactly what David is going through now.
“I’ll give him the time he needs before he comes back. He has to go home and in the old world that’s a day, you come back and you’re ready again.
“Now with the pandemic and quarantines of course it’s a different world, but still we felt when David wanted to go and be there to support his girlfriend of course there’s not even a decision to make.
“Dean came in and played well and he’s ready, so I’ll give David the time he needs of course.”
Henderson would have likely started three of the next four next matches given he is United’s cup goalkeeper anyway. Two Europa League last-16 fixtures against AC Milan are on the horizon as well as an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester.
The international break follows the March 21 trip to the King Power Stadium but Solskjaer expects De Gea “to be available very soon”.
‘I don’t know when he’ll be back’
“We want our players back as soon as possible. However there’s a human being in there that we had to look after and David was there for this fantastic day for him, his girlfriend and his family,” the Norwegian said.
“I don’t know when he’ll be back. It won’t be long before he comes.
“It was easy when I travelled back from the Euros. (My son) Noah was born on a Friday and I played against Spain on the Tuesday, travelling back on a Sunday. No quarantines, nothing.
“The world’s a different place. But, still, this is the biggest occasion in any parents’ lives so of course we allowed him to go.
“But Dean did well against Palace and I’m sure he’s looking forward to this City game as well.
“He’s had that experience already this season in the Carabao Cup so that will stand him in good stead.”