Manchester United are reportedly looking to wrap up the €80 million deal for Bruno Fernandes, who was also a target for Manchester City.
According to a report by Portuguese outlet A Bola, Manchester United are hoping to seal the deal for Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes by Sunday. The Sporting Lisbon captain was also being pursued by local rivals Manchester City, who have reportedly ceded their interest in him.
Bruno Fernandes has been vindicated for his decision to stick with Sporting Lisbon in the wake of a training ground incident that saw a number of players leave the club last summer. In fact, the 24-year-old went on to enjoy his most productive season till date, recording an impressive return of 32 goals and 18 assists in 53 appearances across all competitions.
Having directly contributed to a goal in almost every game he played this past season, his star has naturally been on the ascendancy. And, several clubs have invariably been linked with Fernandes in recent months, with Manchester United and Manchester City being the most prominent among these.
At Manchester United, the future of Paul Pogba is up in the air, with the Frenchman being linked with Real Madrid and former club Juventus over a possible big-money summer move. Even if Pogba stays, Solskjaer prefers a 4-4-2 diamond setup, which needs a number 10 and Bruno Fernandes could be the perfect fit in the role that has seen the likes of Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira being tried without much success.
To that end, approaching a player like Bruno Fernandes would make sense as he would not just add some creativity from midfield but also contribute with goals himself. But, for a long time Manchester United had reportedly been fretting about playing the catch-up game to local rival Manchester City in the race to sign him.
Manchester City have been hoping to lay out the succession plan for David Silva for quite some time now, with the Spaniard now in the twilight of his career. The Premier League champions tried and failed to do so last summer, but now appear determined to try and start phasing Silva out in the upcoming season.
To that end, Fernandes appeared to be a viable target, even though he would not have been a like-for-like replacement for Silva. However, the report suggests that Manchester City have ended their interest in the Portuguese international, which has thereby handed the initiative to Manchester United.
A Bola also add that Manchester United are now hoping to wrap up the deal for the 24-year-old this week itself and that the Premier League heavyweights are prepared to shell out up to €80 million to secure his services.
United want to close out the transfer by Sunday, by when Fernandes would have completed his commitments with the Portuguese national side at the UEFA Nations League. Should they be able to reach an agreement with Sporting Lisbon by then, the move could be formalised.
It now remains to be seen if Manchester United can work quickly to wrap up the signing of Bruno Fernandes, who could well be announced as their first summer signing next week.