Sporting Lisbon head coach Silas admits the club are making plans for Bruno Fernandes' exit in the January transfer window.
Manchester United were confirmed as being interested in signing the 25-year-old Portugal international by O Jogo editor-in-chief Filipe Dias on the latest episode of the Sky Sports Transfer Talk podcast.
Following Saturday's 3-1 win at Vitoria Setubal, Sporting head coach Silas was asked if Bruno Fernandes would be available to play against Benfica on Friday.
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He said: "I can't guarantee any of these things because I don't know. Bruno is a huge player and all players like him have a lot of market. I don't like to think about it, but I'll be thinking of alternatives in case Bruno leaves.
"I hope it doesn't happen, but we have to start thinking that."
On the Transfer Talk podcast, Dias said: "The story so far is that United this time are really closing in on Bruno Fernandes.
"We ran the story that there are talks between the two clubs and we figured that a deal might be close in the next few days, or hours even, because Sporting need money badly.
"The situation has changed since last summer. They didn't accept a deal with Tottenham for 70m euros but that would have been paid with 40m euros upfront and then another 30m.
"Now Sporting will accept 70m Euros, but paid in instalments. United is a club that Bruno Fernandes really likes in England, it's a club that he really wants to play for."
When asked about his interest in the player, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: "We go back to speculation. We go and watch games all the time but where I've been and when I've been somewhere is irrelevant.
"That's another player that's in a different club and I can't speak about."