Sporting Lisbon’s assistant coach Emanuel Ferro believes Bruno Fernandes will still be playing for them next month as Manchester United struggle to seal a deal for the midfielder.
The two clubs have been at loggerheads over the fee, with Sporting demanding a minimum of £55.3million and as much as £68m, while United want to spend no more than £42m for the Portugal international.
And now Ferro’s comments suggest it is far from certain 25-year-old Fernandes will be in United colours by the end of this month’s transfer window.
‘There is a lot of talk about him leaving,’ he told Portuguese newspaper A Bola.
‘I believe that outside people feel this more than us. We don’t feel it. We don’t feel Bruno’s thinking about leaving. He is competitive and involved.’
His remarks come despite reports by Plataforma that United and Sporting were now prepared to ‘meet in the middle’ and agree a fee of £46.9m plus bonuses for Fernandes.
They report that United were only willing to pay £42.5m up front but have since returned with an improved offer for the attacking midfielder.
Fernandes played the entirety of Sporting’s 2-0 defeat by Benfica on Friday and trained with his team-mates on Monday.
It is anticipated that he will feature in the Taca da Liga clash against Braga on Tuesday too.
The Portugal international has scored 15 goals and provided 13 assists in 27 appearances for Sporting this season across all competitions.
It is believed that the player is eager to seal a move to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who have been tracking him since last summer.
Fernandes is understood to be furious with not being allowed to join United though, who have had a bid already turned down.
The midfielder believes he has earned his move to Old Trafford having stayed loyal to his club in the summer transfer window.
Meanwhile, Sky Sport Italia reported that United have also targeted Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino in order to strengthen their options in midfield.
Vecino, 28, has not been a first choice at Inter under manager Antonio Conte and did not even make the matchday squad for their 1-1 draw with Lecce on Sunday in Serie A.