Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has denied reports that his side attempted to butt in on Manchester United’s deal to sign Bruno Fernandes.
United announced the signing of Portugal international Fernandes from Sporting last Thursday after over two weeks of talks between the clubs, with complications arising about the 25-year-old’s transfer fee and the structure of add-ons.
What’s more, reports claimed that Barcelona added to the risk of Fernandes’ Old Trafford move falling through, with the Catalan giants said to be keen on signing him and loaning him to Valencia.
As part of that deal, Barca would have got Rodrigo in return, with the striker providing crucial cover following injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.
Speaking to Spanish outlet Sport, however, Abidal insisted that Barcelona did not have the requirements to pull off a deal.
“[Fernandes] is an interesting player, but the agents try to do their job,” Abidal said.
“We did not have that need. They sell you the product, but we were not interested in anything.”
The sporting director’s quotes come from the same interview in which Abidal criticised the commitment of some Barcelona players towards the end of Ernesto Valverde’s reign at the Camp Nou.
Abidal has received considerable flack for his comments, not least from Lionel Messi, who took to Instagram to respond.
Following the rift between the pair, Barcelona reportedly held a meeting to discuss Abidal’s future, with the 40-year-old staying in his role.
Elsewhere, United midfielder Scott McTominay has said that his first impressions of Fernandes and fellow January arrival Odion Ighalo are “very, very good”.
Ighalo‘s move to Old Trafford was announced just after midnight last Saturday, hours after the transfer window closed.
McTominay, who is currently out injured, said: “They are really, really nice guys. First and foremost they are good people. That’s what we need at this football club.
“We need people who are good friends, obviously, who can go out for dinner for everybody as well.”