The longest-running transfer saga of the January transfer window may finally be drawing to a conclusion after Manchester United reportedly agreed a deal for Bruno Fernandes.
The 25-year-old has been a transfer target for United for well over a year now, but talks over a move to Old Trafford have been progressing at walking pace, despite the Red Devils’ obvious need for reinforcements.
But it seems a breakthrough has finally been made in negotiations – with a number of prominent journalists reporting that a deal has been agreed in principle.
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Specific financial details still vary depending on where you look, but the general consensus seems to suggest a €55m (£46.6m) initial fee has been agreed, with significant future incentives to follow.
It’s thought that United will pay €5m based on the number of appearances Fernandes makes next season, another €5m should the club qualify for the Champions League and a whopping €15m if he lifts the coveted Ballon d’Or trophy en route to winning Europe’s premier club competition.
A four-and-a-half-year contract is in the offing for Fernandes, with the Portuguese midfielder expected to take a leading role in helping to rebuild United after yet another season of struggle.
Earlier in the day, it looked as though United’s ongoing pursuit of Fernandes had been complicated further by the emergence of Barcelona as a potential destination.
The Catalan giants, who recently disposed of manager Ernesto Valverde, are desperate for striking reinforcements and seem to have focussed their attentions on Valencia’s Rodrigo. With Los Ches unwilling to sell, Barça needed to come up with a plan to coerce their La Liga counterparts into parting company with the Spaniard – which is where Fernandes came into the equation.
It was claimed by separate sources in Spain, Super Deporte and AS, that Barça would be willing to purchase Fernandes from Sporting on a contract until 2025, before loaning him to Valencia in order for Rodrigo to be released from his contract.
But that late move, engineered by prominent football agent Jorge Mendes, appears to have fallen by the wayside, with United now ‘confident’ that a deal will finally be sealed for Fernandes.
It’s unknown how long it may take to complete the formalities of the deal – god knows we’ve waited long enough to get to this stage – but it’s claimed by everyone’s favourite journalist, Fabrizio Romano, that Fernandes has been waiting to fly to Manchester in order to tie things up once and for all.
So barring any last-minute hiccups, you can expect Fernandes to undertake a medical before going over the necessary paperwork in the next 48 hours or so. Then, we may have an official announcement at long last – something that United fans have been waiting to hear for a long, long time.