The 26-year-old has grabbed considerable transfer attention throughout the opening half of the term – having even had a Work Permit application with a prospective move to joining Everton on the cards late on in the summer.
Liverpool and Manchester United had also been named as suitors heading into January, especially after the Brazilian-born midfielder secured Portuguese citizenship last month.
But interest in Fernando has reportedly been high in Serie A – his agent admitting interest in an Italy switch – with rumours emerging at the end of last week of a pre-contract agreement with AC Milan.
TuttoMercatoWeb were quick to quash speculation of such a deal at San Siro on Saturday evening, instead claiming the Porto man would imminently sign an extension on his expiring contract.
Alas, representative Antonio Araujo has now set the record straight, citing that all possibilities remain open.
“On the renewal we are talking, nothing more,” he told CalcioNapoli24. Just that, nothing is official.
“Fernando can still leave in January, even if he were to renew. I have already spoken with Napoli, with [Adriano] Galliani of AC Milan and anyone who has shown interest.
“I have had several meetings. Napoli will make an offer, Fernando likes the idea of playing for them.
“Yet still, he would be happy with a new Porto deal.”
Napoli’s impending offer doesn’t come as much of a surprise – the club are in a race to make a quality midfield acquisition after their move for ex-Arsenal target Maxime Gonalons was blocked by Lyon’s president.
Seemingly Milan are still in the running, though face the distraction of boss Massimiliano Allegri’s dismissal on Monday and their intentions remain unclear.
What’s missing is really United – a side desperately in need of the type of box-to-box presence Fernando offers in the centre of the park, and for a discount price at that.
Without matching Napoli’s sense of urgency, the Red Devils will certainly lose out on a midfielder again, that is if Fernando remains a priority.
But why should he not be? He certainly meets all specifications in terms of what he has in his locker, without the inflated cost of say, well, Marouane Fellaini.
The idea of panic buying hits close to home at Old Trafford and David Moyes needs players, but also ones that are the product of good business.
Fernando is still on Porto’s books and Napoli’s bid is yet to arrive so the situation remains open – but United may be on the brink of missing out on what would’ve been a shrewd solution at present.
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