Cape Town - Manchester United are close to walking away from the
negotiations for Sporting Lisbon's Bruno Fernandes after a sudden doubling of
their asking price.
Talks are understood to have reached an impasse after
Sporting refused to budge from their £68 million (€80m) valuation, which is a
huge increase on the £39 million (€45m) fee United and Tottenham were quoted
for the midfielder in the summer.
United have now walked away from the table and no further
discussions are planned for this weekend between the two clubs.
Sky Sports News are reporting that Red Devils officials,
usually led by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in such matters, feel their
latest bid of £43 million-plus £17 million in potential add-ons is about right
for the in-form Sporting star.
Reports that Fernandes, who has grabbed 13 goals in 21 games
in all club competitions this season, could be at Anfield to watch United in
action against Liverpool on Sunday were clearly premature.
And the likelihood now is that the deal could go right to the
wire on transfer deadline day, so far apart are the two clubs over their
Negotiations are expected to resume next week, with United
keen to sign Fernandes, having identified him as their primary target in the
January transfer window.
Speaking after Fernandes played 90 minutes in Sporting's 2-0
defeat to rivals Benfica on Friday, head coach Silas admitted he did not know
if that was to be the midfielder's last game for the club.
The continuing deadlock enhances the chances of him
appearing in Sporting's next match - a cup-semi-final against Braga on Tuesday.
At least personal terms, which were reported to be sticking
point earlier this week, have been agreed between the Premier League club and
He would reportedly earn around £120,000-per-week at Old
Trafford should the deal go through.