Manchester United make big breakthrough with midfielder deal now close

Manchester United

Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Bruno Fernandes after a significant breakthrough was made in talks with Sporting Lisbon.

Having considered a move for the Portugal international over the summer, the 25-year-old was made the Old Trafford giants’ number one target this month, but getting a deal over the line has proven to be difficult.

United and Sporting have been at loggerheads over Fernandes’ valuation, but it is understood a deal to bring the midfielder to Old Trafford is now close.

Final figures and personal terms remain, but a fee of £46.6million and a further £8.5million in add-ons is believed to have been settled on.

Those add-ons are understood to be based on appearances and Champions League qualification, while it would take a hugely successful stint at Old Trafford to trigger a further £12.7million.

A four-and-a-half-year deal is on the table for Fernandes, for whom Sporting are believed to have initially demanded £67.8m up front.

Barcelona were among the other clubs believed to have been interested in the 25-year-old, who played in the Lisbon side’s 1-0 defeat of Maritimo on Monday.

The move is subject to a medical but United are confident of getting the deal over the line – a boost for a side still left light in midfield by the departures of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is understood to have wanted to bring in a central midfielder over the summer, while injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have compounded matters.

But United, who have tracked Fernandes since 2015, now appear to be getting their man – a player Solskjaer had been coy about ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

“I haven’t got any updates for you on transfers,” Solskjaer said. “I think it was a waste (of a question) – I gave you the option (not to ask it)! I haven’t got anything to say now. My mind is just on the game.”