Manchester United have begun talks with Sporting CP over playmaker Bruno Fernandes ahead of a potential £50m move in the summer, according to reports from Portugal.
The 24-year-old has been in sparkling form this season for the Liga NOS side, and reports earlier had claimed that the Red Devils had been left 'convinced' over their plans to sign the midfielder following a starring performance against Portimonense last weekend.
Now, Portuguese publication A Bola have confirmed that despite Premier League rivals Chelsea being credited with also scouting him this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are the current frontrunners to secure Fernandes' signature.
The report claims that United have already spoken to the Portugal international's camp and have made 'first contact' with Sporting over a summer transfer.
Despite Fernandes having a reported €100m release clause, it is understood an offer in the region of £50m would be enough to persuade the Portuguese side from parting ways with the midfielder.
A Bola further claim that whilst United are yet to confirm who their permanent manager will be for next season, the club will push ahead with a move for Fernandes in the near future.
Having begun his professional career at Italian side Novara, the Portuguese star made his breakthrough at Serie A side Udinese.
Following a one-year stay at Sampdoria, Fernandes returned to his native Portugal to join Sporting in 2017, and has enjoyed his most prolific campaign this season, with 12 goals and nine assists in 23 league appearances.
He has also recently been linked with United's Premier League rivals Liverpool.