Bruno Fernandes’ much-anticipated move to Manchester United is not expected to go through before the weekend after two factors were cited in a delay in the transfer.
Following speculation surrounding the Sporting Lisbon midfielder in the summer, the Red Devils have again been heavily linked with Fernandes in recent days.
United are said to have held talks with the player’s representatives and were prepared to offer £51m up front as well as up to three players, one of whom could be defender Marcos Rojo.
However, it has also been claimed that Sporting want £50m up front with an additional £15m in add-ons, with the transfer fee and structure of the add-ons said to remain an issue between the clubs.
Those talks were said to have encountered a delay on Tuesday when Sporting cheekily asked for United to include one of their midfielders as part of the deal, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offered something of a terse update when questioned about the chances of signing the player earlier in the day.
“I’ve got no transfer updates, so no,” he told reporters at Carrington. “If we get something that we can tell you about we will but I’ve got no news now.”
Now, according to Sky Sports, the deal remains perhaps somewhat further away from completion from initial reported.
They claim that complications in the deal have emerged after Sporting abandoned their initial plan to re-sign Marcos Rojo as part of the deal. United were reported to have offered the Primeira Liga side the chance to bring back their former player – whom they sold to United in 2014 – but those plans have been abandoned due to the expense of paying the player.
The Liga NOS club are now taking their time looking at other United players they may want to sign, with the likes of Angel Gomes and Joel Pereira also said to have been offered as bait.
In addition, it’s reported Sporting want to keep Fernandes for the huge clash against rivals Benfica on Friday, with the match likely to be the midfielder’s final appearance in a Sporting shirt.
That would effectively end United’s hopes of getting the deal done in time for Fernandes to feature in their own massive clash, against Liverpool at Anfield, on Sunday.
“There has been talk now of the potential of United players moving the other way as part of that deal,” Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth said.
“The reports coming out of Portugal claim that Sporting Lisbon want to re-sign Marcos Rojo as part of that deal.
“United would be prepared to sell Rojo, they almost signed him to Everton in the summer, it’s though he’d be too expensive for Sporting Lisbon. They’ve got a few financial difficulties as it is.
“As a result, Sporting are actually exploring the potential of other players at Manchester United as being part of the deal.
“Loaning Andreas Pereira, that was being mooted, but we’ve since been told he would not be part of any negotiation with regard to Bruno Fernandes.
“Another name being mentioned is Angel Gomes, he has dual English and Portuguese citizenship and his contract at United expires in the summer.
“One other interesting side note to this potential deal is Sporting do not want to do business, ideally, with Bruno Fernandes before Friday.
“Because Bruno Fernandes is expected to play in the big game in Portugal, Sporting Lisbon against Benfica.”
Fernandes’ impending move to Old Trafford has also received a strong hint from one of the player’s agents, Rui Guimaraes, who liked a post on Instagram from football statistics website WhoScored.
The agent then reposted the article’s image to the story on his own personal Instagram account, before Fernandes and including the magician’s hat emoji and the glancing eyes emoji.
Guimaraes also linked Portuguese sports management company Positionumber.
To further the talk of a move to Old Trafford, Fernandes has followed that up by reposting Guimaraes’ post on his Instagram story.
Meanwhile, former Tottenham striker Darren Bent says credit must go to United boss Solskjaer if a deal for Fernandes is completed.
“When you’ve got someone of this ability, I think you can’t pass on it,” Bent said.
“Especially if he wants to come to your club, I think that is vital. We’ve seen before them being linked with certain players and they’ve not really shown an interest in coming.
“But again this might be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proving his worth again, a good manager.
“I think he’s made good signings already but if he can somehow get this guy in the door as well, I think it would be perfect.”