Manchester United are set to finally complete a deal for Bruno Fernandes.
The Sporting Lisbon midfielder had been most recently linked with a transfer to Spanish club Barcelona, who were said to be interested in signing him before sending him on loan to Valencia. In turn, that would allow them to swap the player for Rodrigo Moreno, the 28-year-old striker who is said to be a target for Barca after a knee injury to Luis Suarez.
However, it appears those rumours were designed to smoke out United into actually completing the deal, with the Premier League club struggling for numbers in midfield following injuries to both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, who could be out for a couple of months.
The club had previously expressed some interest in the 25-year-old playmaker in the summer, but only made their interest firm this winter after missing out on Erling Halaand, who instead joined Borussia Dortmund. That led the club to panic into finding alternative attacking options, leaving them to settle for Fernandes.
The deal was held up by reported meddling from Joel Glazer, who apparently was reluctant to pay Sporting’s asking price, as he and Ed Woodward were aware that Sporting were motivated to get a deal done because of their difficult financial position.
It now seems that Woodward has agreed to pay around £45 million up front, with another £15 million likely to follow assuming that Fernandes has a relatively successful career at Old Trafford. The player is due to fly to Manchester tomorrow for his medical.
United are also still being linked with Islam Slimani, who is on loan at Monaco from Leicester City. The 31-year-old Algerian striker will nevertheless be free to move back to England if both Leicester and Monaco can work out a way to free the player from his current loan deal. Odion Ighalo is another potential loan signing.