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No official offers received for Bruno Fernandes. Manchester United still negotiating. A game of cat and mouse at play?

Sporting Lisbon has admitted that they have not received any official offers for midfielder Bruno Fernandes this summer. This counteracts all the reports that have come out of the Portuguese media this summer so far. The clubs president Federico Varandas spoke to Radio Observador, reported by A Bola on Monday confirming the player was not on the verge of leaving the club. Varandas, when asked about interest in Fernandes, said:

“Only talks. I still haven’t thought about a minimum price but I can say that he will be the biggest sale of Sporting, looking at the €40 million of João Mário.”

Portuguese newspaper, Correio da Manhã, has also reported on the situation today suggesting that the lack of an official offer for the 24-year-old means that negotiations are to continue. Which there has been contact from Manchester United for Fernandes, via emissaries, the numbers are well short of the €70 million that Sporting expect for the player this summer.

It is stated that the potential offers, despite an official offer not being made, would be €50 million, clearly short of what the Portuguese club expected. Reports coming from Italian journalist, Nicoló Schira on Twitter, stating that United has agreed to personal terms with Fernandes ahead of a prospective move to the Old Trafford club this summer. These reports have made it in to the British media with The Sun putting an article together.

It is possible that United has agreed on personal terms with the 24-year-old as the selling club can give the buying club permission to talk with the player, albeit through their agent, which in this case is Miguel Pinho who has been in London recently and was reported to be travelling back and forward between the city and Portugal.

Fernandes apparently has a €35 million release clause which is also something that Sporting’s president, Varandas has talked about in the past few days. He told Sporting TV, via O Jogo and Sport Witness that the player would be sold for much more than the €35 million release clause. It is also reported that is Sporting reject an offer of more than €35 million, the club will have to pay Fernandes €5 million as part of the clause, which seems a silly thing to offer a player – meaning they might have been in a tough position to keep him at the time. Varandas said:

“It’s obvious that he will be wanted by big clubs. It doesn’t imply that he leaves. It’s also not a drama if he leaves.

“If he stays, Sporting have plan A; if he leaves, we have plan B. If in the market they want Bruno Fernandes, it must be a heavy amount.

“Sell for the €35m clause? (Laughs) He will not leave for €35 million. The club president must know how to understand the dressing room and realise and recognise the value of these players.”

United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, could be playing a game, according to Sport Witness. He could have predicted that Sporting would become desperate to strike a deal to sell Fernandes this summer, which seems to be the case with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool all ending their interest in the player. It is hard to believe that Woodward could be this knowledgeable about these situations though. If that is the case, he’s done something right. However, this saga seems destined to rumble on for a bit longer.

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