Football News

Sporting vice-president reveals error Man Utd made during Bruno Fernandes negotiations

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:07, 16 February 2020

Manchester United wrongly believed they could sign Bruno Fernandes for cheaper than his £46.5m price tag, according to Sporting CP’s vice-president.

The Red Devils were initially linked with Fernandes in the summer 2019 transfer window and as soon as January came around were strongly linked to his signature again.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to be closing in on the midfielder’s signature in the early stages of the month but talks stalled, reportedly due to the two sides failing to agree a fee.

Even though the deal looked dead in the water at one point, Fernandes did eventually sign for Man Utd on the penultimate day of the January transfer window for an initial fee of £46.5m.

Man Utd’s chase of Bruno Fernandes: Five things to know…

  • Man Utd were linked with Bruno Fernandes throughout January.
  • A deal had appeared likely early in the month but talks then stalled.
  • Fernandes eventually joined Man Utd on the penultimate day of the window.
  • And Sporting’s vice-president believes Man Utd made a mistake by thinking they could get Fernandes for cheaper than his asking price.
  • He also insisted that Sporting sold Fernandes for more than they would have done in the summer.

Fernandes made his Man Utd debut in their goalless draw with Wolves prior to the winter break and gave fans a promising glimpse of what he can bring to Old Trafford.

However, things could have been different for Fernandes if Man Utd hadn’t given in to Sporting’s demands.

According to the Portuguese club’s vice-president, Salgado Zenha, Man Utd were convinced they would be able to sign the midfielder for lower than Sporting’s asking price and he also claimed Sporting managed to receive more money by selling Fernandes in January than if they had done so in the summer.

“I realised in the negotiations that Manchester United were convinced that we were going to give in and that for €50 million we would do the deal,” he told Portuguese outlet Record.

“Well, they ended up paying €65 million. I have no doubts. But they were wrong.

“And they ended up paying what we wanted. We got €20 million more than if we had sold four months ago.”

The financial details surrounding Fernandes’ move to Man Utd were released by Sporting shortly after his departure, confirming not only the initial fee but also any add-ons.

Man Utd could have to pay up to £21m more for their Portuguese midfielder due to add-ons including participation bonuses, individual prize bonuses and Man Utd‘s Champions League performances.

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Man Utd warned against misusing Fernandes

Fernandes’ Man Utd debut against Wolves saw the 25-year-old fielded within advanced midfield trio, occupying the no.10 role. Many fans feel he will be able to make the most impact by operating close to Man Utd’s strikers, given his deadliness from long-range situations.

However, former Sporting boss Carlos Carvalhal has warned Man Utd against playing Fernandes in this position.

“He is not a number 10,” he said recently. “He is a midfielder but he has developed that ability to break the line of the defence to score goals.

“He shoots, he assists, the passes and the free-kicks. But he is not a 10, he is an 8. He is a box-to-box player who understands very well the game. He doesn’t just play. He understands everything that happens around him.

“He can organise the team, he can talk, he can give feedback. He is kind of like a manager on the pitch. He can organise things in the last part of the pitch. He is a really exciting player.”

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