Will he, won't he? Sporting Lisbon and Man Utd wrangle over big-money Bruno Fernandes move
Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon are locked in talks over the transfer of Portuguese goalscoring midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
The Old Trafford giants are chasing the signing of Fernandes, who played what could be his last game in the Portuguese league on Friday night in a 2-0 home defeat to Sporting's rivals Benfica.
The 25-year-old is understood to have agreed personal terms for a £120,000 per week deal ($156,000) at Old Trafford.
However, the transfer fee for the player has been a sticking point, with the two clubs locked in negotiations.
There are conflicting reports over how near the clubs are to agreeing a fee, with Sky Sports reporting that the two parties are "close" to agreeing a deal which would see United pay Sporting £45 million (US$58.5 million) upfront, with a potential £17 million in add-ons.
However, reports elsewhere state United are unwilling to meet Sporting's demands for a fee of £68 million.
The move, should it be completed, would inject a much-needed element of dynamism to Manchester United's midfield, who have often been overrun during games this season.
Paul Pogba, the club's record transfer, has been absent through injury for much of the campaign, while players like Fred, Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira have been criticized for below-par performances.
One part of Fernandes' game which it is hoped will be transplanted to Old Trafford is his outstanding goalscoring record which has seen him find the net 64 times in his three seasons in Lisbon.
Fernandes could possibly even be in the stands for Manchester United's Sunday trip to league leaders Liverpool, according to speculation. The transfer would make Fernandes the second-most expensive Portuguese player to leave the national league following Joao Felix's £107 million (€139 million) move from Benfica to Atletico Madrid last summer.Also on rt.com 'Lies': Russian model rejects claims she was arrested in Spain for false rape complaint against AC Milan star Theo Hernandez
Of course, United will hope that the omens are positive for this piece of business after their last major recruit from Sporting Lisbon, Cristiano Ronaldo, became one of global football's elite superstars.