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‘Man Utd were wrong in Fernandes pursuit’ – Sporting vice-president made Red Devils dig deep

Francisco Salgado Zenha has pointed out that the Portuguese side never had any intention of dropping their asking price despite pressure from England

Manchester United have been told they were “wrong” to believe that Sporting would buckle under pressure and agree to part with Bruno Fernandes for less than his full asking price.

The Red Devils spent much of the January transfer window trying to put a deal in place for the Portugal international midfielder.

Eventually an agreement was reached, with the 25-year-old moving to Old Trafford as part of a €55 million (£47m/$60m) package.

A protracted saga saw United forced to dig deep in order to get their man, with Sporting making it clear that they would not be relaxing their stance.

The Portuguese club’s vice-president, Francisco Salgado Zenha, is pleased to have seen his side stand firm.

Many would have buckled under pressure from a Premier League heavyweight, with big money being thrown about, but it was pointed out to the Red Devils that a certain fee must be paid.

Zenha told Record: “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.

“I have no doubts. But they were wrong. And they ended up paying what we wanted. We went on to get €20m more than if we had sold four months ago.”

Tottenham had been close to doing a deal for Fernandes in the summer of 2019.

He is now on the books of Spurs’ Premier League rivals, having made an immediate debut for United in their 0-0 draw with Wolves.

A fresh face at Old Trafford has made a positive early impression, with many backing him to prove a shrewd addition for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Fernandes’ former Sporting team-mate Yannick Bolasie has told The Mirror: “Bruno has the lot to be honest. I think he will cope fine with the expectations.

“When he was at Sporting he controlled all the matches. Everything Sporting did went through him.

“He can play with both feet and is not afraid to shoot with his left but his right foot is his main foot. He can see a pass and has good long-range passing, free-kicks and penalties.

“He is at his best getting on the half turn and making passes in between the lines. He likes giving passes and likes scoring, that is his game. He knows what he can do and is good at and can link up with the forward players really well.

“He has his own style because he has been in Italy before but has similarities to De Bruyne, Silva and Eriksen.”

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