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Sporting CP manager Silas has said Bruno Fernandes will feature in his squad on Friday when his club host Benfica.
The midfielder has been linked with an imminent switch to Manchester United, but the clubs are yet to agree a deal.
According to BBC Sport, Silas confirmed Fernandes is available for selection for the Lisbon derby.
“The only certainty I have is that Bruno Fernandes will be present against Benfica,” Silas said. “When we have such an athlete it is normal for a lot of teams to want him, but tomorrow he will be there unless disaster strikes.”
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Fernandes could potentially be the answer to the Red Devils’ lack of creativity, with the Portuguese masterful in and around the box.
The attacker scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists in Liga NOS and Europe last season, and he’s continued his impressive form this term.
Fernandes has recorded 13 goals and 10 assists at the midway point of the campaign, and United would be signing one of the continent’s elite players if they can get a deal over the line.
Portuguese newspaper A Bola (h/t Gareth Bicknall of the Mirror) reported Fernandes could be in the Anfield stands to watch United visit Liverpool on Sunday, with a deal between the clubs nearing completion. A reported fee of between £50 million and £65 million might be enough for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to buy his target.
Sports journalist Duncan Castles explained negotiations between United and Sporting are continuing:
Duncan Castles @DuncanCastles
Bruno Fernandes state of play
• Sporting have been unable to include Manchester United players in the deal
• MUFC offer is €50m + €30m in variables
• Variables hard to achieve, eg win Premier League, Champions League
• Sporting want €65m + variables
United have made small steps under Solskjaer during the Norwegian’s 13-month tenure, and the club must now invest in the transfer market to make the next leap in development.
The coaching staff have promoted youth in recent times, with the likes of Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe becoming first-team regulars, but United desperately need to add top-level quality to their options.
Fernandes would bring leadership skills with him to Old Trafford. The player has been a unifying captain for the Lions and he could do the same in the Premier League.
With the long-term future of Paul Pogba unknown, Solskjaer needs to build his midfield around a talent who can score and create from deep, and Fernandes is built for this challenge.