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Sporting confident Bruno Fernandes to Man Utd deal will be completed

11:15 EAT 21/01/2020
Bruno Fernandes Man Utd
A fee has not yet been agreed for the midfielder although the Portuguese club's financial difficulties should ensure that a transfer goes through

Sporting are confident of finalising a deal with Manchester United for Bruno Fernandes despite the Premier League club attempting to change the terms of the transfer late in the day.

United started negotiations for Fernandes two weeks ago  after injuries to Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba forced the club to act to support Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the transfer market.

They had expected to sign Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg early in January but were caught on the back foot when the 19-year-old Norway international elected to move to Borussia Dortmund instead.

United and Sporting had largely agreed a deal for Fernandes, who may have played his last game for the club on Friday in a league match against Benfica, but the Red Devils then began to add new requirements for the Portuguese club to receive the full amount.

In response to United’s additional negotiating, Sporting raised the overall asking price for the 25-year-old midfielder. No new agreement has been reached between the two clubs, and there are now just 11 days left for the sides to thrash out a deal. 

There have been suggestions that United have attempted to structure a deal worth in the region of £60 million ($78m), with around a quarter of the fee dependent on Fernandes winning the Ballon d’Or, and United winning the Premier League.

Sporting are sceptical of either eventuality, leading to a new asking price of £68m ($88 million), closer to his existing release clause. Nevertheless, Sporting’s own financial difficulties mean that club insiders expect a deal to be struck before the end of the January window.

United have since been linked with two other midfielders who could join on loan, with Lille star Boubakary Soumare and Atletico Madrid back-up player Marcos Llorente both having been reported as potential targets on short-terms deals.

Solskjaer has also raised the possibility of mitigating Marcus Rashford’s absence with a temporary move for a striker. The England international exacerbated a back problem during a brief appearance against Wolves in the FA Cup last week and could be out of action for around two months with a stress fracture.