Bruno Fernandes has said the Premier League "always was" his preferred destination amid reports the Sporting CP star is due for a medical at Manchester United on Wednesday.
Goal's Sacha Pisani referred to recent rumours that Barcelona or Valencia could land the player in 2020, but it appears United look set to complete his signing before Friday's January transfer window deadline.
Pisani included quotes from the 19-times capped Portugal international who, when asked if the Premier League was his preferred destination, told SIC: "It always was."
Fernandes, 25, wasn't as explicit when asked whether United were his favoured English club to join, however, as he replied: "Anything really."
David McDonnell of the Mirror wrote the player will fly into Manchester for a medical at United's AON Training Complex ahead of the transfer being completed.
The Guardian's Fabrizio Romano reported via Instagram that the deal will cost United an initial €55 million (£46.5 million). The Red Devils could pay up to €25 million (£21 million) more in add-ons, with the player set to sign a deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until June 2024.
United's reported breakthrough came shortly after Superdeporte (h/t Conrado Valle of AS) reported Barcelona were in the hunt for his signature. It was alleged the Blaugrana hoped to sign the player and loan him to Valencia next season in an effort to help them sign Los Che forward Rodrigo Moreno.
Fernandes has scored 15 goals and recorded 14 assists in 27 appearances across all competitions this campaign.
He leads the Primeira Liga in shots attempted (271), shots on target (114), goal involvements (67), goals from outside the box (nine) and chances created (239) since the start of the 2017-18 season, per OptaJoe.
Statman Dave highlighted the Portuguese playmaker has been particularly lethal in the UEFA Europa League. His tally of five goals and three assists in five games equates to a direct goal involvements every 56 minutes.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope to see more of that impact in attack since goals have dried up somewhat following Marcus Rashford's recent back injury, which could sideline him for two months, per BBC Sport.
If reports are accurate, Fernandes could be a United player by the time they face City in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday, with the Red Devils trailing 3-1 on aggregate.
Solskjaer's side are fifth in the Premier League and return to top-flight action on Saturday at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, when Fernandes could target an English debut.