Manchester United have wrapped up the signing of Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes, who has joined the Premier League powerhouse on a five-and-a-half-year contract, with the option of an extra year.
Fernandes, 25, had been fiercely linked with a move to Old Trafford since last summer, and the Red Devils finally announced his signing on Thursday, one day before the January transfer window is set to close.
BBC Sport confirmed United will pay Sporting an initial outlay of $60.9 million (£46.5 million), though bonuses could take the final cost up to $88.6 million (£67.7 million).
Fernandes follows in the footsteps of five-time Ballon d’Or-winner Cristiano Ronaldo—who also moved to Old Trafford directly from the Lisbon club—and he cited his Portugal team-mate as an inspiration in the decision:
“My love of Manchester United really started when I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play and ever since then I have been a big fan of this great club. For me to now play for Manchester United feels incredible, I have worked hard to get to this moment and I can promise the fans that I will give everything for the badge to help bring us more success and trophies.”
The attacking midfielder will hope to rejuvenate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attack after star striker Marcus Rashford was recently sidelined by a back injury. Fernandes scored 15 goals and recorded 14 assists in 27 Sporting appearances this season.
It’s possible Solskjaer will aim to hand his new arrival a swift debut when United play host to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, a must-win match if they’re to hang onto fifth place in the Premier League.