Bruno Fernandes’ reported move to Manchester United is ‘on the brink of collapse’, with reports claiming that Sporting Lisbon have significantly upped their asking price for the midfielder.
It was reported by Sky Sports on Friday that Manchester United were close to agreeing a deal worth around £60 million (€70m) for the Portugal international, £43m (€50m) being paid upfront, and the remainder being paid in add-ons.
Since Sporting’s 2-0 loss to Benfica on Friday night – which was presumed to be Fernandes’ last game for Os Leoes – United fans have been eagerly awaiting further updates about the deal, the clubs midfield in desperate need of the kind of creativity that the 25-year-old would bring to Old Trafford.
However, ESPN are reporting that United have been left ‘baffled’ after the Liga NOS side unexpectedly hiked their asking price to €80m (£68m) – £55m upfront, with a further £13m in add ons – which they claim more than they were willing to accept from Spurs in the summer.
Meanwhile, reports in Portugal, courtesy of Sport Witness, do not suggest that Sporting have hiked their asking price, but instead are wanting a larger chunk of the transfer fee paid upfront, with Manchester United’s add-ons being triggered by potential domestic and European success, as well as Fernandes winning the Ballon d’Or, events that the Lisbon club unsurprisingly find unrealistic, much as Crystal Palace did when United tried a similar trick in their pursuit of Aaron Wan Bissaka.
Despite their need for midfield additions, the ESPN report claims United are ‘prepared to walk away’ from the deal, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apparently ‘prepared to wait until the summer’ to his business, even though his midfield is down to the bare bones thanks to the long-term injuries sustained by Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.
It was previously suggested that Fernandes – who has contributed 15 goals and 10 assists this season – could have been in the stands for Manchester United’s trip to face Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon, though that now seems highly unlikely.