Manchester City have contacted Sporting Lisbon officials to discuss Bruno Fernandes’ availability, who is also a top target for Manchester United.
The Portugal international has scored 28 goals in 48 appearances for Sporting across all competitions this term, attracting plenty of interest from a wide range of top European clubs in the process.
According to The Sun, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to land the 24-year-old’s signature this summer, as he plots a number of key personnel changes at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils were believed to be the frontrunners in the race to secure Fernandes’ services, but City are planning to beat their neighbours to the punch after opening transfer negotiations with Sporting last week.
The Primeira Liga giants are well aware of the talents of their most prized asset, having inserted a £90 million buy-out clause in his current contract which is set to run until 2023 – as per The Sun.
United or City will have to match that fee to lure Fernandes away from the Jose Alvalade Stadium, but Pep Guardiola may have gained the upper hand over Solskjaer already.
The Sun reports that City chief Txiki Begiristain is due to meet with Sporting’s director of football Hugo Viana, who is scheduled to fly to England to thrash out a possible deal for Fernandes.
This latest news will surely come as a shock to United supporters who might have been looking forward to welcoming a new star to Old Trafford later in the year, but there is still plenty of time for another twist in this story.
Fernandes would likely be granted more regular playing time under Solskjaer than he would in Guardiola’s ranks, given City’s plethora of world-class midfielders.
That being said, the Portuguese playmaker does have the quality to succeed at the Etihad Stadium and if the Premier League champions step up their pursuit in the coming weeks, they could well strike a bitter blow to their local rivals in the summer market.