Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United continues to be the most discussed potential transfer in Europe during the current window.
Despite that, there is still no white smoke signaling a completed deal.
United are holding their ground to buy Bruno for what they feel is a reasonable price and what they believe he is worth.
Sporting CP, like any Portuguese club, is seeking the most money and trying to keep up with their rivals Benfica and FC Porto in getting lucrative deals, which help pay the bills.
So, what is going on?
First, unless developments really start to happen, expect Bruno to play on Monday against Maritimo. That has been the case in the Lisbon Derby or League Cup whenever nothing has changed in talks. Bruno does play and right now there is no reason to think otherwise.
Second, the EPL transfer window closes on Friday night, so by Saturday morning, this will all be over one way or another.
Third, the latest reports in Portugal say United have raised their offer to 55 million and the two teams are working out the bonus structure. Sporting CP want a reasonable 15 million in objectives to get the deal up to 70 million.
As Friday gets closer, talks will likely accelerate and the two sides will get closer in money. The big thing is will Varandas actually take less than 60 million guaranteed? If he did, this deal would have been done by now. Therefore, the only factor that can change his willingness will be how much he is willing to say yes up until the EPL transfer deadline on Friday night.
Either Varandas or United will have to surrender their position. As soon as one does, the deal will be done. If they don’t, this will drag into Friday night or not happen.
Who needs the deal to happen more?
Sporting CP needs the money but if Bruno stays, Sporting will try to compete in Europa and eye trying to finish second in Liga. Fans will not like that they heard so much about Bruno leaving and then he didn’t. If he stays, most though would be happy. Fans don’t worry about the money, they worry the most about the results and Bruno staying helps.
United need good news and fans of a major club expect a major club to spend money. If they don’t make this deal, they will continue to frustrate a fan base every time they lose.
So while most think Sporting are the ones with the most to lose, United probably is the one with the most to lose because of the size of their club and how much money they have. For them to hold off for 10 million really says more about their concern for finances than anything else.
Nobody can predict the future. So nobody knows what is really going to happen. Time is likely to be the biggest negotiating piece as there is not much of it left to get a done deal. Time will likely help force a deal or get the teams to meet halfway.
In Portugal, fans are used to rumors of players being sold. It is a part of the football culture and everybody accepts that it must happen. There is even pride when a Portuguese player is sold to a big club.
Therefore, if a deal happens, here is the one piece of information that matters the most.
The CMVM (Portuguese Securities Commission). They must be notified if a deal is confirmed. In Portugal, when the CMVM announces details of a deal, then it is done. No rumors.
When this happens, then fans in Portugal will truly know a deal is done and we can then of learn of the details.
Five days left. We will see what will happen.