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Reports in Portugal claim Bruno Fernandes “close” to signing with Tottenham

Well, that escalated quickly.

Sporting CP v Empoli FC - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

One of the fun things about this transfer window (those who hate the window will likely choose another adjective than “fun”) is that Spurs are being linked to all sorts of players, and not necessarily in a stalking horse kind of way. Tottenham have money to spend, they intend to spend it, and pretty much everyone knows it.

One of the rumors to emerge out of the background here in the past day or so is for Sporting attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who has been heavily linked with both Spurs and Manchester United. His agent was said to be in London on Thursday to negotiate with... someone about a potential transfer to the Premier League, and that someone is said to have been Tottenham Hotspur.

There are two conflicting reports out this summer, both from the Portuguese press. A Bola claims that United are the front-runners having made a €70m bid for Fernandes (plus €10m in escalators), €2m more than Tottenham’s bid, and that he’s more likely to end up at United because of the fee plus a generous wage package. The Record (paywalled, via Sport Witness), by contrast, claim that talks have “intensified” between Sporting and Tottenham and that Spurs are “very close” to signing him.

If you’re wondering, Fernandes’ stats are eye-poppingly good — he scored 32 goals and assisted 18 in all competitions last season. He’s 24 years old and would probably be considered a Christian Eriksen replacement. However, he’s been knocked in the past (and continues to be so — see his radar) for being wayward with his passing and for turnovers.

Sport Witness notes that this transfer supposedly hinges on Christian Eriksen’s “imminent” transfer to Real Madrid, something that doesn’t seem either imminent or necessarily accurate. So take this all with a huge grain of salt for now.

However, if these rumors are true I don’t know what it would mean for Spurs’ pursuit of Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele. €70m is a lot of money for a pure attacking midfielder. Would this bid come in addition to Lo Celso? Instead of? Is this Spurs throwing a bunch of money at a wall and seeing what sticks? No one knows.

I’m not convinced by these rumors yet. There’s enough ambiguity between the two sources that I don’t quite know what to believe, except that I’m sure Spurs are taking a look at him. Bruno Fernandes is a very good attacking midfielder but Spurs need central mids and I’m not sure what going after him does in that regard. I’m not opposed to Bruno — he’s very good! I’m just not sure he’s what we need in the team unless there are other player departures we’re not aware of just yet. And that’s a bit of a scary thought.