Manchester United have completed the signing of Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.
The Premier League club announced on Thursday the 25-year-old had signed a five-and-a-half year contract at Old Trafford, with the option of a further 12-month extension, in a deal worth an initial £46.6million.
The long-anticipated deal was finalised after Fernandes, who has 19 international caps, agreed personal terms and passed a medical.
A deal had reportedly been close a fortnight ago but stalled as the clubs struggled to agree a fee. It was not until this week that a breakthrough was made in negotiations and by Wednesday United finally reached agreement with Sporting for their top January target.
Fernandes, a goal-scoring attacking midfielder, could go straight into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Wolves, with Nemanja Matic out through suspension.
Fernandes told the club’s website, www.manutd.com: “My love of Manchester United really started when I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play and ever since then I have been a big fan of this great club.
“For me to now play for Manchester United feels incredible. I have worked hard to get to this moment and I can promise the fans that I will give everything for the badge to help bring us more success and trophies.
“A massive thank you to Ole and everyone at Manchester United for the trust they have shown in me and I can’t wait to start to repay that on the pitch.”
Fernandes will bolster midfield ranks at Old Trafford that have been short on numbers since the departures of Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini. Injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay this season have further weakened the side in this department.
Fernandes came through the youth ranks at Boavista but first established himself in the professional game in Italy. He played for Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria before returning to Portugal with Sporting in 2017.
He won the Portuguese Cup and two League Cups with the Lisbon club, for whom he scored 63 goals and also contributed 52 assists in 137 appearances, and also captained the side.
His final fee could rise by a further £12.7million based on appearances and achievements in the long term.
Solskjaer was pleased to finally complete the deal.
The Norwegian said: “We have been tracking Bruno for many months and everyone here has been tremendously impressed with all his attributes and what he will bring to this team.
“Most importantly he is a terrific human being with a great personality and his leadership qualities are clear for all to see.
“Bruno’s goals and assists stats speak for themselves. He will be a fantastic addition to our team and he will help us push on in the second part of the season.”
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