Bruno Fernandes is desperate to play for Manchester United, according to reports from Portugal.
But the Sporting Lisbon star’s transfer to Old Trafford may be delayed because the Portuguese club want him to play in their crunch clash with bitter rivals Benfica this week.
Manchester United are set to complete a £65million transfer for the midfielder, who they were in hot pursuit of during the summer before splashing the cash on Harry Maguire instead.
The Red Devils wanted to complete a player plus cash deal for Fernandes, with Marcos Rojo among the stars ready to be used as a makeweight, but Sporting want £50m up front with an additional £15m in add-ons.
Fernandes has remained very loyal to Sporting over the years, but reports in Portugal claim he is finally ready to leave.
The editor of Portuguese publication O Jogo, Filipe Dias, told Sky Sports: “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.”
Man United are hopeful of signing Fernandes as soon as Tuesday, but Sporting’s fixture list has thrown a spanner in the works.
The Portuguese giants play host to city rivals Benfica this Friday, and club chiefs understandably want their star man to represent them one final time in what is the biggest game of their season.
Fernandes netted twice last time out for Sporting in their 3-1 win over Setubal.
The Portugal international celebrated his first of the night by cupping his ears, as if to suggest he is blocking out the transfer speculation surrounding him, before blowing a kiss for the travelling fans.