Sporting Lisbon president Bruno Varandas has explained why the Portuguese club rejected an offer from Tottenham for Bruno Fernandes.
Varandas has revealed Sporting initially planned to sell Fernandes last summer but decided against it when no appropriate offers were lodged for the goalscoring midfielder.
Fernandes eventually secured a £68million move to Manchester United after agreeing a five-and-a-half year deal last month, but not after months of speculation.
United will pay £46.6million up-front, with a further £8.5m dependent on Champions League qualification and appearances by the player. The final bill could rise by a further £12.7million based on a number of further clauses based on Fernandes’ achievements over the long term.
But Fernandes could have been in the white of Spurs had Sporting reduced their asking price and accepted Tottenham’s approach for the midfielder last summer.
“At the end of June, we had become aware that we were going to sell Bruno,” Varandas told Portuguese newspaper Record via Sport Witness.
“We had already signed Camacho, Rosier and Vietto, and we wanted to bring in a striker and a midfielder who were practically closed. The last four days of this market were the worst of my presidency, that’s when I realised that we didn’t sell Bruno Fernandes.
“Bruno’s sale was very conditioned by his return. If Sporting refused a bid of €35m, we would have to give his agent €5m. This clause was made public irresponsibly. It was one of the things that seriously penalised us. And it was only in this window that Sporting took that weight off our shoulders, to go and negotiate.”
Varandas claims Sporting’s financial situation meant that Fernandes’ sale was necessary because Sporting needed €115million to balance the books.
“There are no non-negotiable players,” Varandas added. “Bruno Fernandes is the proof. And it was an obligation. We wouldn’t be able to reach €115m without [selling] him.
“With the sale in January, for €63m practically certain, it was shown that we did well to resist and not to accept the proposal of Tottenham.”