Manchester United have reportedly seen an initial offer of £35 million for midfield transfer target Bruno Fernandes rejected by Sporting Lisbon.

According to a report from Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, as carried by the Daily Mirror, Manchester United have made an opening bid of £35 million for Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes. However, their offer has been rejected by the midfielder’s club Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes, 24, has emerged as a primary transfer target for Manchester United ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, after his exceptional displays for Sporting over the last year. The Portuguese international produced an amazing return of 32 goals and 18 assists from 53 matches in all competitions, leading his club to the Portuguese Cup and the Portuguese League Cup triumphs.

The midfielder backed it up with impressive performances in the inaugural UEFA Nations League as well, helping Portugal lift the trophy last month. This has led to Manchester United making him their top target in the summer transfer window as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to strengthen his midfield options.

Manchester United endured a disappointing 2018-19 season, finishing outside of the Champions League qualifying spots and are eyeing a summer rebuild under Solskjaer, as they look to break back into the top four. Midfield is an area where they will need to invest this summer, having lost Ander Herrera already, while Paul Pogba’s future also hangs in the balance.

Manchester United's bid for Fernandes rejected (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United’s bid for Fernandes rejected (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Frenchman has revealed that he wants to leave this summer, with Real Madrid and Juventus lining up moves for the World Cup winner. Should he depart, it will be a blow for Manchester United given that he was their chief source of creativity from the middle of the park over the last season. Even if he stays, Solskjaer wants to add another creative presence to the midfield, leading to the interest in Fernandes.

To that end, Manchester United were believed to have met Fernandes’ representatives in London last week and as per the report from Gazzetta dello Sport, have followed it up with an opening bid of £35 million in order to secure the 24-year-old services this summer, only to see it get knocked down by Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese giants are holding out for a bigger transfer fee in the region of £60-£70 million and are hoping that the widespread interest in Fernandes across Europe will lead to a bidding war and drive up the transfer fee. Given that they tied him down to a new long-term contract only last year, Sporting are in a strong negotiating position.

It remains to be seen if Manchester United are willing to meet the Portuguese outfit’s demands. The Red Devils have so far signed Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but Solskjaer is keen on completing more transfers before his side leave for their pre-season tour to Australasia, with a move for Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff also in the pipeline.

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