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Manchester United close on Bruno Fernandes deal

Bruno Fernandes is close to joining Manchester United after a significant breakthrough was made in talks with Sporting Lisbon, the PA news agency understands.

Having considered a move for the Portugal international over the summer, the 25-year-old was made the Old Trafford giants’ number one target this month.

United and Sporting have been at loggerheads over Fernandes’ valuation, but it is understood a deal to take the midfielder to England is now close.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may finally have something to celebrate in the transfer market (Martin Rickett/PA)

Final figures and personal terms remain, but a fee of 55million euros (£46.6million) and a further 10 million euros (£8.5million) in add-ons is believed to have been settled on.

Those add-ons are understood to be based on appearances and Champions League qualification, while it would take a hugely successful stint at Old Trafford to trigger a further 15m euros (£12.7m).

A four-and-a-half year deal is on the table for Fernandes, for whom Sporting are believed to have initially demanded 80million euros (£67.8m) up front.

Barcelona were among the other clubs believed to have been interested in the 25-year-old, who played in the Lisbon side’s 1-0 defeat of Maritimo on Monday.

The move is subject to a medical but United are confident of getting the deal over the line – a boost for a side left light in midfield by the departures of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is understood to have wanted to bring in a central midfielder over the summer, while injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have compounded matters.

But United, who have tracked Fernandes since 2015, now appear to be getting their man – a player Solskjaer had been coy about ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

“I haven’t got any updates for you on transfers,” Solskjaer said with a laugh on Tuesday morning. “I think it was a waste (of a question) – I gave you the option (not to ask it)!

“I haven’t got anything to say now. My mind is just on the game.”

United are looking for an attacker as well as a midfielder so Alexis Sanchez would have been a welcome option at this point, despite his struggles since his high-profile switch from Arsenal in January 2018.

And while the Old Trafford giants did not include a recall clause in his season-long loan deal to Inter Milan, Solskjaer expects him to have a future at the club when he returns in the summer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, left, consoles Alexis Sanchez after substituting the forward

Solskjaer expects to welcome back Alexis Sanchez, right, in the summer (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We’ve got players here we’re working hard to get back as well and if there is something out there, then the club are pursuing that and looking at it,” the United boss said.

“Of course it is a difficult window. It always has been. I can’t remember how many good ones we’ve brought in, good deals that we’ve brought in in January.

“Henrik (Larsson) was good, Nemanja (Vidic) and Patrice (Evra) were two good ones.”

When Sanchez was mentioned, Solskjaer said: “It’s very hard because the clubs don’t want to lose their best players. Alexis will come back in the summer and prove you all wrong.”

There continues to be talk about possible outgoings, with Marcos Rojo linked to former club Estudiantes having not played for two and a half months.

Asked if the Argentina defender could leave, Solskjaer said: “I wouldn’t think so. Marcos has been injured and has been working to get back and get fit again. At the moment it doesn’t look like it, no.”