As per a report from Portuguese outlet Correio de Manha, Liverpool have joined the race for in-demand Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes.
Fernandes, a gifted attack-minded midfielder, made the return to his home country of Portugal with Sporting in the summer of 2017, after a 5-year stint in Italy.
And to say that the 24-year-old has since gone on to establish himself as a key contributor at the José Alvalade Stadium would be putting it lightly.
Fernandes’ combination of eye for goal, set-piece prowess, creative flair and penchant for the spectacular have seen him emerge as one of Portuguese football’s leading talents over the last two seasons.
After directly contributing to over 30 goals across all competitions during his debut Sporting campaign, Fernandes subsequently took his game to another level again this past season, on his way to an eye-catching 28 goals and 14 assists.
Bruno Fernandes in Primeira Liga this season:
👕 30 games
🔑 96 chances created
💪 38 tackles
⚡️ 29 dribbles
⚽️ 16 goals
🅰️ 12 assists
Manchester City are close to signing the Sporting CP midfielder, per A Bola! 👀 pic.twitter.com/3mE5igJogT
— Goal (@goal) May 1, 2019
Imminent Man City switch?
As such, the 11-time capped international’s standout showings in the Portuguese capital have inevitably begun to catch the eye of some of European football’s biggest clubs.
Of the sides named as serious suitors of Fernandes, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City have been the most persistently-touted as potential destinations.
The race for Fernandes’ signature, though, appeared to have come to a close last month, when it was widely-reported that Pep Guardiola’s City had agreed a 55 million Euro deal with Sporting:
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) May 6, 2019
‘Got it wrong’
Such claims, however, were definitively shut down just days later, as it came to light that the Premier League champions were in fact not in negotiations over Fernandes:
Jesus, seems I got it wrong on Bruno Fernandes! City insist they’re *not* in for him. Apologies for the duff information 😬😳
— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) May 9, 2019
Liverpool enter the race
As such, the Fernandes sweepstakes have since been blown wide open once again, with the front-runners to eventually clinch his signing seemingly changing by the day.
After Record claimed last week that Tottenham were ‘very close’ to securing an agreement with Sporting, the latest update emerging from Portugal suggests that another English outfit, in the form of Liverpool, have now thrown their hat in the ring for Fernandes.
As per Correio de Manha, the Reds, who are ‘looking for an opportunity’, could ‘change everything’ with a bid of their own, after Fernandes recently expressed his admiration for the style of football employed by the European champions under Jurgen Klopp:
‘I like Liverpool a lot more (than Manchester City). It’s a more direct, more offensive, maybe less organised, but more intense football.’
‘In Liverpool they are more individual players, especially in the midfield. Usually playing three very aggressive players and recovering the ball. Then they have three players at the front who are lethal, when they have the opportunity, to be the difference.’
Sporting, meanwhile, are said to be seeking a fee of at least 70 million Euro for Fernandes.