Manchester United are reportedly once again considering a move for Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mike Phelan said to have personally scouted the midfielder.
Fernandes has been a longstanding target for the Red Devils, but they failed to agree a deal with Sporting in the summer, with the player subsequently penning new terms in Portugal.
His attacking output has since kept up, scoring a remarkable 13 goals and registering the same amount of assists in 24 games to keep his reputation as one of the game's most exciting midfield talents very much alive.
Solskjær on Bruno Fernandes: "We go back to speculations and we do go and watch games all the time, where I’ve been is irrelevant, that’s another player in a different club I can’t speak about." #mulive— utdreport (@utdreport) January 10, 2020
He most recently featured in his side's 2-1 defeat to Porto at the weekend, and it's there that serves as the base for the most recent links between the midfielder and United. Portuguese newspaper Record, as relayed by Sport Witness, say that both Solskjaer and Phelan attended the match personally, and take this as a sign that an official approach could arrive this month.
A supplementary report from O Jogo, sourced in the same article, goes one step further, claiming that transfer negotiations have already started, with United 'in dialogue' with Sporting, but yet to present an official offer.
The hold-up there, as ever, is thought to be the asking price. Sporting president Frederico Varandas is said to have asked for €70m for his team's star asset, a price United are reluctant to meet mid-season.
United are believed to be desperate to add some depth and creativity to their midfield, with their already-thin ranks having been depleted further by injuries to Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba.
Their current recognised central options consist of Andreas Pereira, Fred and Nemanja Matic, so the arrival of Fernandes - though he is admittedly a more advanced option - would likely serve as some welcome relief.
However, even if reports can be taken as fact, it seems as if there is some way to go before a deal can be reached - so it may be an idea not to count your chickens before they've hatched here.
Source : 90min