Bruno Fernandes came through what appeared to be his final game for Sporting Lisbon ahead of a proposed switch to Manchester United on Friday night.
The all-action midfielder impressed but could not prevent his side from losing 2-0 at home to their bitter rivals Benfica.
And the occasion threatened to spiral out of control when the match was suspended for six minutes due to flares being thrown onto the pitch by the home fans.
The 25-year-old, whose every touch was greeted with cheers, was determined to go out with a bang and delivered an impressive display that is sure to excite United management and fans alike.
Unfortunately, Fernandes as unable to add to the 15 goals and 12 assists he already has in all competitions this season.
Doubts over the deal have emerged in recent days and there was no emotional goodbye to the home crowd after the final whistle, and his manager admits confusion remains over whether it was indeed his final match.
“I really don’t know if it is the last game,” Silas said after the game. “I hope that it is not.
“At this moment nobody knows if it is his last game. Even Bruno doesn’t know if it is his last game. So we will try to have him for some more games but it does not depend on us.
“I understand this kind of player deserves to be in a good league.
“Nobody has any doubt the Premier League is the best in the world and Bruno is one of the best players in the world.
“He deserves to play in a league like this.”
According to The Sun, United have made an offer of £34million, with a further £25.5m in add-ons for Fernandes.
But the Portuguese giants are said to concerned that they would get nowhere near the full £60m package because so many payments are linked to unrealisic achievements – such as United winning the Premier League and the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Issa Diop has denied any knowledge of speculation linking him with a move away from West Ham, explaining why he doesn’t want to pay attention to rumours.
The French defender has been linked with a move across London to team up with Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur, with the club still waiting to see if Jan Vertonghen is going to commit to the club beyond the expiration of his contract in six months’ time.
It is believed that Tottenham received a negative response from their cross-city rivals, learning that the £65m-rated Diop – who Mourinho had praised after his performance against Manchester United in 2018 – was not for sale.
Diop has now backed up that stance by declaring that he is not even interested in finding out which clubs want to sign him. Read more…