Sporting CP manager Silas has said he "can't confirm" if Bruno Fernandes has made his last appearance for the club, with rumours ongoing that he could join Manchester United before the end of January.
Fernandes, 25, retained the Sporting armband and captained his side to a 1-0 win over Maritimo on Monday. Silas told reporters after the game that he still wants his player to stay in Lisbon until at least the end of this campaign, per Goal:
"I can't confirm it [if Fernandes made his last appearance against Maritimo]. I would like him to stay. Right now I don't know if he will stay or not, but I would like to count on him at least until the end of the season.
"Bruno Fernandes is a different player, he sees things that no one sees. Being further back and seeing these movements, the defence begins to decline.
"Any team that had Bruno Fernandes in Portugal would suffer if they lost him. If so we will have to look for solutions."
The Portugal international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford since the summer, but negotiations with Sporting have thus far failed to bear fruit.
Sky Sports recently reported the Red Devils had increased their offer for the player to £46 million, having initially agreed a transfer worth £55 million in principle.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News highlighted the support Fernandes had during Monday's win at the Estadio Jose Alvalade:
Mourinho recently joked about his former club's pursuit of the Sporting star, via Omnisport:
Fernandes has scored 15 goals and recorded 14 assists in 27 appearances for the Lions this season, which includes a record of five strikes in as many UEFA Europa League outings.
United demolished Tranmere Rovers 6-0 in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side failed to score in back-to-back Premier League defeats against Liverpool and Burnley prior to that.
The team have felt the absence of Marcus Rashford in attack, with the striker expected to be sidelined for several months after he suffered a double stress fracture in his back, per Sky Sports.
Silas will have succeeded in keeping Fernandes out of United's clutches if he lines up to face Braga on Sunday, two days after the European winter transfer deadline.