According to a report on Goal, the move has been held up after United negotiated further changes to the proposed structure of the deal.
United had been expected to sign the 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder for around £60 million, however they attached around a third to a quarter of the fee to several clauses. Two of those were that United would win the Premier League, and the other would be that Fernandes wins the Ballon d’Or.
The Portuguese club were reportedly sceptical that either of those things were likely to occur, and thus increased the asking price to closer to £70 million.
That change led United to brief that they were ‘baffled’ over the sudden change in the asking price for the Portuguese international, rather than acknowledging that they had shifted the goalposts during negotiations.
Nevertheless, Sporting need the money in order to satisfy their own financial obligations, and they still expect to be able to come to an agreement with United over the eventual fee. It is a common occurrence that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s meddling in deals prevents any swift transfers.
United’s need for a midfielder has been made evident by the struggles of Nemanja Matic, Fred and Andreas Pereira so far this season. Additionally, injuries to both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have exacerbated the lack of depth in the squad, which is further compounded by the departure of Ashley Young to Inter Milan for a deal worth around £1.3 million.
The club have also been linked with loan moves for Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare and Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also in the market for a short-term deal for a striker given the recent injury to Marcus Rashford.