Man Utd ‘were hesitant to seal Fernandes deal’ as club chiefs eyed alternative

Man Utd chiefs stalled over signing Bruno Fernandes as they were reportedly eyeing a move for Man City midfielder Rodri .

The deal for Fernandes proved to be the long-running transfer saga of the season, taking till January for the Portuguese star to finally put pen to paper.

United had initially baulked at Sporting Lisbon's £69million asking price, and will only pay that total amount if Fernandes meets specified targets.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed a flying start to life with the Red Devils, but had United landed their initial target, he may not have made the switch at all.

As reported by the Athletic , United scouts had run the rule over Rodri – then at Atletico Madrid – and club chiefs were preparing to make their move.

City nipped ahead of them to land Rodri's signature however, completing a £62.8million transfer on July 4.

That left United with little over a month to bring in an alternative target, by which time Sporting were happy to play hardball over Fernandes.

It could have ended up worse for United had Tottenham upped their bid for Fernandes on the final day of the summer transfer window.

Fortunately for United they were able to construct a deal involving a number of add-ons to bring Fernandes to Old Trafford.

The deal will eventually cost around £67million if all clauses are activated, but some include things like Fernandes winning the PFA Player of the Year award.

Rodri has made a good start to his career in England, and was one of City's standout performers in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

But it was United and Fernandes who had the last laugh.

Fernandes created United's opener, lifting a cheeky chip over the City defence from a free-kick to set up Anthony Martial to score.

Scott McTominay added a second in stoppage time, but not before Fernandes had been involved in an angry exchange of words with City boss Pep Guardiola.

After a brief verbal altercation close to the touchline, Fernandes pressed his finger to his lips to shush Guardiola.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, former Man Utd captain Roy Keane said of Fernandes: "He's lifted the players. It's like he's been there 20 years.

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