“He is an extraordinary player, the best and most valuable in the league, as he was last season. I’ve heard someone say that he’s not worth the money you are talking about and it’s true, he’s worth a lot more. In addition to attacking better than anyone in our country, he still gives the most to defend.”
United turned to Fernandes this month after it became clear other targets were unavailable and that Sporting are willing to sell.
The Lisbon giants’ financial difficulties mean they need to offload players to balance the books and Fernandes is their most saleable asset.
They are holding out for a bumper fee, with United’s initial offer of £50m plus a further £15m in add-ons not deemed up to scratch.