No matter how you look at it, it’s impossible for Ed Woodward, who himself is a banker, to not know about Sporting’s financial problems in advance – especially when even fans have known about it for a year now.
So if Ed Woodward is backing off from Bruno Fernandes deal in a last-ditch attempt to take advantage of their situation when the deal was almost done, it only means he doesn’t have Manchester United’s best interest in his mind.
Sky reporter Keith James reported earlier that Manchester United seemed to have agreed to a transfer fee of £55m after the intervention of Jorge Mendes only to back out in the last minute and now were willing to offer only £42m for Fernandes.
It is believed that both Sporting and Fernandes are taken aback with United’s change in their stance and that negotiations, though not completely broken down, are in some serious jeopardy.
This appeared to be confirmed by Jorge Mendes yesterday, who was quoted as saying “If he doesn’t leave now, he’ll leave in the summer”, implying that the deal is dead in the water.
Meanwhile yesterday the Lions completed the £5 million signing of Slovenian striker Andraz Sporar – a fee that on paper they simply cannot afford to pay without first selling Fernandes.
Whether that means ultimately they will have to back down to the Red Devils’ demands before January 31st or whether they can keep their debtors at bay another six months remains to be seen.