Transfer news: Fernando bound for Manchester City after agreement to sign Porto midfielder is reached
City tried to sign the midfielder during the January transfer window
Manchester City have reached an informal agreement to sign the Porto midfielder Fernando in June, when they will seek to bolster the midfield which was exposed for its lack of depth in the home defeat to Chelsea that kept the title race wide open.
City’s attempts to do business with the Portuguese club may prove challenging, given that the selling club’s president Pinto da Costa is understood to be furious about their approach for the £15m player in the last 48 hours of the January transfer window. Clubs hate unanticipated eleventh-hour approaches for their players and days before the City move Porto thought they had finally tied Fernando to a lucrative new contract to protect their financial interest this summer. The Independent understands that an indignant Da Costa has told Porto coach Paulo Fonseca that Fernando should be excluded from the side until he leaves for City in the simmer, though Fonseca’s need for the player is likely to prevail.
City’s own need of Fernando, a holding midfielder in the same mould of Javi Garcia, was laid bare in Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to Jose Mourinho’s side - when the training ground groin injury sustained by Brazilian Fernandinho, 24 hours earlier, forced manager Manuel Pellegrini to turn to 33-year-old Martin Demichelis, who broadly failed to cope with Chelsea’s level of pace and invention. Porto refused to sell Fernando last Friday because they had already lost key midfielder, Lucho Gonzalez, to Qatari side Al Rayyan.
It emerged on Tuesday that Fernandinho may be back for City within two weeks, in time for Barcelona’s visit in the Champions League last 16 home leg on February 18. But City still need reinforcements in that area of the pitch, with Garcia lacking the calibre and Jack Rodwell not demonstrating the long-term fitness to provide the anchor.
The new contract Porto have spent two years trying to tie Fernando – which remained unsigned because of the prospective City move - it is likely to be concluded now, though the Portuguese club may now be unwilling to buy out the 26-year-old’s third party ownership. Doing so would make the transfer of the player more smooth this summer.
It was the same complex ownership structure which is understood to have made City’s attempt to sign Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala at the same time as Fernando difficult, late last week. The player is 56 per cent owned by Porto and 44 per cent by a company connected to the agent Jorge Mendes, making it difficult for City to know how high and with whom to bid when they tried to conclude a last-minute bid for the French defender.
Though City are expected to go back in for the 22-year-old again this summer, they may find difficulty as Mangala is understood to favour a move to Paris Saint Germain in his native France. Mangala joined the Mendes stable of players two months ago and there are suggestions in Portugal that the player may already have reached a preliminary agreement to move to the French capital this summer. He wanted to stay in Porto for the remainder of the season because he feared he would not be a first choice centre half at City in the second half of this season - and would so struggle to make France’s summer World Cup squad.
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