Manchester United are set to rekindle their interest in Sporting Lisbon playmaker Bruno Fernandes after seeing their hopes of signing three other targets suffer what would appear to be knockout blows.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to add more creativity to his side and was weighing up approaches for three Premier League No 10s – only to see hopes of bringing them to Old Trafford hit the buffers before they had seemingly begun.
Tottenham schemer Christian Eriksen and Leicester playmaker James Maddison had emerged as primary targets for Solskjaer, but it now seems neither will be making the move to the Red Devils this month.
According to reports in his native Denmark, Eriksen is closing on a cut-price move to Inter Milan, with his contract at Tottenham now having just over five months remaining. United had shown an interest in the Dane, but were not looking to spend money on a player who would be available for free at the end of the season. However, their hesitancy has appeared to let in Inter, who according to Ekstra Bladet, are nearing an agreement to bring the former Ajax man to the San Siro.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s insistence that Maddison will not be allowed to move on mid-season has ended their hopes of a second big-money raid on Leicester over recent months; that despite reports on Sunday that the Red Devils were prepared to offer £45million plus one of their own players to help secure the deal.
Discussing the immediate future of Maddison and other in-demand Foxes stars, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers said: “Nobody will leave here that we don’t want to go.
“I think we’ve had a couple of enquiries in terms of loans and for some of our younger players. But the players that are always talked about and mentioned, there will be nobody going.”
The Red Devils have also been linked with Aston Villa talent Jack Grealish, but with the Midlands outfit in the midst of a battle for survival, they too have moved to end talk that the player could be lured away in January.
“He’s a big target for many teams,” Villa manager Dean Smith commented over the weekend. “But our owners are very ambitious in establishing us as a top Premier League club, to do that you need to keep your best players.
“People can keep looking but they can’t touch. We want to keep our best players and he’s showing he’s one of the best in the Premier League.”
And that has meant, according to Goal, United have gone back to the drawing board and are now considering an approach for long-term target Fernandes.
As per the report, it’s claimed United are readying a move for the player they first showed an interest in during summer 2019, with the Portugal star catching the eye with a string of impressive displays for Sporting Lisbon.
Fernandes scored 32 times and assisted 18 more last season, with it being confirmed over the summer that it was actually Tottenham who came closest to signing him.
And while Tottenham reportedly remain in the running to sign him, Goal reports that it is United who are currently preparing a big-money approach for a player, who has in recent times, gone on to sign a bumper new contract with Sporting.
That new deal has seen Fernandes’ exit clause climb to €100m (£85million), though there is a belief in the Portuguese media that Sporting would consider considerably less for the player – hence United rekindling their interest in the star.
News of their interest once again in Fernandes comes amid reports on Monday morning that the club were taking an aggressive approach to signing players from Portugal by sending representatives to watch every game being played by Porto, Benfica and Sporting in the coming weeks in a bid to identify potential targets for both January and the summer transfer window.
United are also on the lookout for a new striker this month and, having already missed out on Erling Haaland, have reportedly turned to a super-agent to help broker a deal for an impressive Wolves frontman.