Credit: AFP

Following a breakout season for Sporting CP, Bruno Fernandes was linked with a move to several clubs in the summer, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and even Tottenham Hotspur.

The Portuguese midfielder stepped up as one of the top-tier playmakers in the world, and it looked like it was a matter of time before he left his hometown team.

However, the Portuguese team managed to hold on to him for, at least, an extra 6 months until the January transfer window, and Federico Varandas – Sporting’s president – recently revealed why Tottenham weren’t able to pull off a deal for him:

“Offloading players who took up 25 percent of our budget was extremely important. We lost only one undisputed starter and kept what is, for me, the best midfielder in Europe. It wasn’t easy because they were being paid far above market value and it’s a complicated process. Whoever is at the helm of Sporting has to be strict and responsible and should never add to expenses without first ‘cleaning house’.

We have managed to hold on to our highest-value player, Bruno Fernandes, and have been able to provide balance and better solutions. We think this group is more competitive and has more quality than last season.t was ‘impossible’ to retain Bruno Fernandes, but we did it.

We prepared for his sale by putting a fair price on him, and we had bids, but the only serious offer was from Tottenham and that was €45 million (£40m/$50m) plus another €20m (£18m/$22m) in bonuses for winning the Premier League and the Champions League. Those are difficult objectives, so we chose not to accept,” the president wrote in an official statement, as reported by Metro.

Moreover, Varandas went on to clarify that Fernandes was aware of the offer and understood why Sporting turned them down, even though everything pointed towards him leaving to the English Premier League:

“Bruno Fernandes proved to be not only a great player but a great professional and captain. The dignity and responsibility that he has always shown is exemplary. The day I turned down Tottenham’s proposal, I came to the training ground and spoke to him. I told him why I declined the offer and why he would stay here beyond the end of the market and he understood perfectly. In addition, he also understood that the bid they offered us was not fair. He’s not leaving, he’s a Sporting player. Many European clubs want him and we know this is something we will always have to deal with,” he concluded.

Fernandes continues to be one of the most disruptive offensive players in the world this season, scoring 2 goals and handing out 4 assists in 4 appearances for Sporting and it’s only a matter of time until we see him join a European giant.