Manchester United's ongoing pursuit of Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes has taken another tantalising twist - with a £65m bid said to be in the offing after a player-plus-cash offer failed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to bring in a new midfielder during the January window, and long-term target Fernandes remains their top priority.
However, The Mirror claim that United have struggled to reach an agreement with Sporting over a transfer fee. The Red Devils had offered to send any of Marcos Rojo, Joel Pereira or Angel Gomes over to Sporting in return, but that proposal was quickly shot down.
As a result, United are expected to lodge a cash-only bid which will be worth a total of £65m - £50m upfront with £15m in add-ons - which is what Sporting have been looking for all along.
Club officials are thought to be optimistic about their chances of signing Fernandes. Nicolò Schira claims that they have agreed a €6m-a-year contract until 2025 and could even complete the deal on Monday, although that seems unlikely.
The speculation has seemingly not bothered Fernandes, who had fans licking their lips when he bagged two goals in Saturday's 3-1 win over Vitória Setúbal.
After that match, Sporting boss Silas admitted that he did not know anything about Fernandes' situation, although he is still planning for a future with the midfielder still at the club.
"I can’t guarantee any of these things because I don’t know.
Sporting are thought to be hesitant to weaken their squad midway through the season, which is why a potential swap deal was suggested. They were not impressed with any of United's suggestions, which is what is holding up the deal.
However, should United meet Sporting's full valuation of the midfielder, then it seems as though they would not stand in his way.