The Portuguese club have already rebuffed approaches from Old Trafford for the 24-year-old, now considered one of the most exciting attacking midfielders in Europe.
The feeling from United is still that they can prise Fernandes away, although they will likely have to bid well over £50m to get it done.
It is understood the move is not dependent on Paul Pogba leaving Old Trafford, with Solskjaer eager to greatly enhance his midfield regardless. There is a confidence the deal will eventually get done.
Fernandes is understood to be keen on the move, with United’s situation helped by the fact the player isn’t quite the first-choice target in his position for other suitors.
United also remain interested in Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff, although there is currently a huge difference in the two clubs’ valuation of the player.
Newcastle would look for a similar price to what Sporting are for Fernandes, although slightly less at £50m, in a reflection of the current state of the market.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies