Manchester United protracted move for Bruno Fernandes has collapsed after co-chairman Joel Glazer ruled out a transfer due to his concerns over Sporting C.P.’s asking price of €80 million (£68m/$89m).
Sporting had expected the move to be completed before the end of the January transfer window, but Goal can confirm that the deal is close to unsalvageable after Glazer expressed his concerns over the structure of the transfer.
United had offered €60.5m (£51m/$67m), with €50m (£42.5m/$55.7m) of that guaranteed for the Portugal international.
However, Sporting were sceptical that the clauses required to recoup the rest of the fee, which included Fernandes winning the Ballon d’Or and United winning the Premier League, would ever be activated to hit the full amount, and as such held out for their valuation of €80m.
While United’s transfer team, including chief negotiator Matt Judge and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, with assistance from super agent Jorge Mendes, attempted to broker a compromise deal, Glazer stepped in to pull the plug.
United had targeted the 25-year-old attacking midfielder after failing to land their primary January target, Erling Braut Haaland.
The teenage striker, to United’s surprise, decided to join Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg at the end of December, and as a result the Red Devils firmed up their interest in Fernandes.
The intervention from Glazer may be ominous news for Woodward, who has been given a large degree of control at the club.
Woodward was responsible for the appointment of current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well as his predecessors Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal.
The potential failure of the club to land Champions League football this season will cost the club millions in sponsorship and broadcast revenue, which would leave Woodward exposed.
Both Woodward and the Glazers have been subject of provocative chants from the Old Trafford crowd since the turn of the year, and the failure to secure Fernandes could provoke further dissent.
Despite the setback in the pursuit of Fernandes, United continue to look for options in the loan market.
Long-term injuries to Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, plus the sale of Ashley Young to Inter, has led Solskjaer to suggest that one or two temporary signings could be made in order to provide cover.
BRUNO FERNANDES IN 2019-20