Red Devils had hoped to land the water carrier on a fee this summer.
Biog-spending Premier League outfit Manchester City are hoping to beat city rivals Manchester United in the race to land FC Porto holding midfielder Fernando, according to reports in the Manchester Evening News.
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The experienced Brazil international had been expected to leave the Portuguese giants to join Premier League champions United in this month’s transfer window.
However, it now appears as though the Blues are on the verge of stealing the player from right in front of their arch enemy’s noses in a move that will undoubtedly infuriate the Red Devils.
Fernando, 26, is only contracted to the Estadio Dragao until June 30 2014 and so with the defensive midfielder set to now be available to purchase on a free transfer come the end of the season, City hope that by offering a nominal cut-price fee for the Brazilian in January, then may be able to persuade the Portuguese to part company with their star man.
And not only that, but with the Portuguese champions having suffered a shock elimination from the group phase of the Uefa Champions League last year, it is understood that the club are now willing to let Fernando go early.