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Manchester United Had to Match Our Bruno Fernandes Valuation, Says Sporting VP

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on February 01, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Sporting CP vice-president Francisco Salgado Zenha has said Manchester United were forced to match their €65 million (£54 million) valuation to purchase Bruno Fernandes but explained the Red Devils believed they could lower the asking price.

Zenha told Record (Liam Corless of the Manchester Evening News) United wanted to complete a €50 million (£41.5 million) swoop for the Portugal international. However, the Lions were successful in negotiating a higher price:

"I realised in the negotiations that Manchester United were convinced that we were going to give in and that for €50 million we would do the deal. Well, they ended up paying €65 million.

"I have no doubts. But they were wrong. And they ended up paying what we wanted. We got €20 million more than if we had sold four months ago."

Sporting (h/t Sport Witness) had published on January 29 a breakdown of the deal that took their captain to Old Trafford, including the significant add-ons United might pay:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Sporting have published the details of the Bruno Fernandes to #MUFC deal: • €55m initial fee • €5m after a number of appearances • €5m for CL qualification • €15m for individual objectives • 10% of profit from future sale https://t.co/GLtJwICMo8

Fernandes' Premier League move represented the costliest transfer of the January window, with United desperate to add quality as they chase a top-four finish.

The midfielder immediately impressed on his United debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 1. However, he couldn't influence a victory as the game ended goalless.

Sporting purchased Andraz Sporar as Fernandes' replacement after a prolific two-year spell for the Slovenian hitman at Slovan Bratislava.

Fernandes has been completing warm-weather training in Spain with his new team-mates during the Premier League's winter break, and United shared footage of their new signing practicing:

Manchester United @ManUtd

We can't take our eyes off this 👀 @B_Fernandes8 🎯 #MUFC https://t.co/cuEqWPFJKw

It will be difficult for Fernandes to replicate his goals and assists record in England, with the tougher environment likely to reduce his numbers.

The midfielder scored 23 goals and assisted 15 times in Liga NOS and Europe last term, and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be delighted if Fernandes gets close to this level of productivity.

United resume their campaign on Monday with a trip to Chelsea in the league, and Fernandes will be expected to start as he continues his introduction to Red Devils supporters.

Solskjaer's team remain six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and need to start making up the gap between themselves and the Blues.

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