Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes has started to cut a lonely figure at Sporting Lisbon, fuelling speculation that he is set to leave in the January transfer window.
According to A Bola, Fernandes engaged in a heated on-pitch argument with team mate Eduardo at the end of Sporting’s 3-1 defeat to Gil Vicente and later accused the team of “lacking personality and attitude” in an interview with Sport TV. The defeat leaves Sporting in fourth place in the Liga Portuguesa, 11 points behind Porto and 13 behind Benfica after just 12 games.
Despite being assured of qualification to the Europa League knockout stage, Sporting’s poor performances in the league have left Fernandes, captain of the Lisbon side, isolated, frustrated and disillusioned with life at the José Alvalade stadium. “Bruno must be thinking ‘what did I get into when I decided to return to this club?” commented one frustrated fan.
— Adam McCarry (@adam_mccarry) November 29, 2019
Sporting’s head coach Jorge Silas tried to play down the confrontation between Fernandes and his teammates but has admitted that the likelihood of the player being sold in the January transfer window is growing. “Losing Bruno is always worrying, but what can we do if we have to lose him?” he said at a press conference this week. “His importance to our team is undeniable, but I’m a coach who always looks for solutions”.
Tottenham remain in pole position to sign Fernandes, having come closest to buying the player in the summer and having agreed personal terms, and now have the extra pulling power of both José Mourinho and Champions League football. However, Manchester United will believe they can offer more in terms of both transfer fee and salary and have a good long term relationship with Sporting. Both English clubs will be wary of restarting the summer bidding war that saw both withdraw from negotiations for the 25-year-old and will be hoping to seal a deal for Fernandes early in the transfer window.