Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United: Will it happen?
Fernandes starts for Sporting Lisbon in their Portuguese Cup semi-final tie at Braga on Tuesday night
By Dharmesh Sheth, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 23/01/20 4:32pm
Bruno Fernandes' proposed transfer from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United is proving to be the transfer saga of the January window, but what is holding up the move?
The two clubs were close to agreeing a deal worth up to £60m for Fernandes, with the Portugal midfielder appearing to say his farewells in Friday's derby defeat to Benfica.
But the Primeira Liga club have raised their asking price for United's primary January transfer target, and the fresh involvement of agent Jorge Mendes seems to have made talks reach another impasse.
With the 25-year-old starting for Sporting in their Portuguese Cup tie at Braga on Tuesday night, Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth gives the lowdown on the state of play between the parties so far...
Are United under media pressure?
We spoke to someone who deals with Sporting on Tuesday morning who says "the sharp edges" of the deal still have to be finalised, but claims both parties are moving closer on the price and more importantly the structure of payments.
What is evident is how much of this story is being driven from the Lisbon end - you wonder if the club are briefing the media to put pressure on Manchester United to get this deal done.
The latest information coming out of Portugal is there is a growing confidence a deal will be agreed this week, but there is very little - if anything - coming out from the United end.
What is clear is there is a willingness from all parties to get the move done.
Why the delay?
A couple of things have been suggested to me: the first is Sporting wanted Fernandes involved against Benfica last Friday and Braga on Tuesday night.
Another reason is a suspicion United do not want to deal with agent Jorge Mendes, who has close ties with Sporting and helped facilitate a number of moves in the summer to help ease the club's financial issues.
In return, it is thought Mendes wanted to be involved in all future deals involving Sporting. However, despite not being involved in negotiations over Fernandes, there is a suggestion Mendes would still want to be paid as per his agreement with Sporting.
This could be the reason why there is a delay: Sporting appeared to have changed the goalposts with regards to the asking price. Are they trying to cover what they might have to pay Mendes in the amount they want to charge Manchester United?
Will United cave in to Sporting's request?
Make no mistake, United do not want to cover any shortfall Sporting would have caused by their payments to Mendes.
All of this could be brinkmanship. Sporting know how much United want a creative midfield player and know how much they want Fernandes, while United are well aware of Sporting's financial difficulties.
They need the money, and the quickest way to ease their money worries is by selling Fernandes.
This has to come to a head soon - only 10 days to go until the window closes.
'Fernandes reminds me of Lampard'
Former Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal praised Fernandes' abilities speaking on Sky Sports News' Transfer Show, comparing the Portugal international to Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard for his style of play.
"Bruno Fernandes is a fantastic, really high level player," Carvalhal told Sky Sports News' "He is 25 years old and his numbers are very easy to see.
"This season, so far, he scored eight goals and made six assists - and he is a midfielder, not a striker or a winger. He is a creative player, also a worker, he understands the game very well.
"He is a clever player, he is one of those players that is talking with his colleagues all the time, he is like an extension of the manager inside the pitch because he understands absolutely everything that goes on the pitch.
"And he is competitive also, he is a player that defends, attacks, he is box to box, he has good passing and very good delivery in the box.
"With all due respect to Portuguese football, he is not doing anything in Portugal in this moment."
How to follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports
Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.
Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day's news with The Transfer Show.
Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.
And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don't miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.