Sport Witness relayed the report from Tuesday's edition of Portuguese newspaper A Bola:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
Bruno Fernandes: ‘Agreement’ on €60m + €10m and loan – Andreas Pereira causing most excitement. However, suggestion Sporting have 'strategy' to delay transfer and keep player for Benfica match. ‘Advancing at cruising speed’ https://t.co/dK95mOiMSl #mufc https://t.co/yBSw0OC1n7
The front page shows Andreas Pereira among the options of the players who could join Sporting on loan, while Joel Pereira, Marcos Rojo and Angel Gomes are also on the table.
It's said Sporting have agreed to a €60 million fee plus a further €10 million in add-ons, and they are now "slowing down the conclusion of the deal as they continue to examine the various possibilities placed on the table by the English [club] for possible loans."
Sporting face bitter rivals Benfica on Friday, so it is suggested they are taking their time to decide on which player to bring in on loan so they can retain their captain long enough for him to play in that crucial game.
The deal may not be resolved quickly:
BBC Sport's Simon Stone reported on 5 Live Sport that Rojo would be Sporting's preferred choice, but there are complications with his potential return to the Portuguese club:
BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport
"There has been meetings... Fernandes would like to go" 🗣️ @sistoney67 thinks a deal between #MUFC and Sporting Lisbon for the Portuguese midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, is close. Listen to the Monday Night Club 👇 📲⚽️: https://t.co/Z6gcKdrGYh #bbcfootball https://t.co/6lqfDAYTbw
According to Sport Witness, the centre-back's wages are a problem for Sporting. It's also said that 19-year-old Gomes' lack of first-team experience is an issue, while Joel Pereira's arrival could interfere with the development of their own young goalkeeper, Luis Maximiano.
As such, Andreas Pereira could be the most likely option. In terms of position the 24-year-old would be more or less a like-for-like replacement for Fernandes.
He wouldn't be in terms of his production, though. Pereira has just one goal and three assists to his name this season.
Fernandes has been much more impactful for Sporting:
The 25-year-old also has two goals and three assists in three Taca da Liga appearances, taking his overall return to 15 goals and 13 assists in all competitions.
United have been outscored by each of the four teams above them in the Premier League this season while Tottenham Hotspur have netted the same number of goals, 36. If they're to finish in the UEFA Champions League places they need an injection of firepower and creativity, and Fernandes provides both.