Towards the end of April, claims emerged in the UK media which stated Manchester United would consider offers for any of their squad.

That was aside from three players: Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo.

Notable by his absence was Bruno Fernandes.

Regardless of the veracity of the claims, it was inevitable they’d quickly spread around the European sport media.

In Portugal, they found an especially interested market. Days later, DAZN Portugal interviewed Fernandes and he was asked about the situation.

As club captain, it’s obviously a bit of an ego blow, and embarrassing, to be asked about your club potentially being willing to sell you. Despite the struggles the Red Devils have long had, the Portuguese slant was generally that Bruno is a hero there and the bright point of troubled times.

The midfielder was diplomatic with his answers but there was certainly room for interpretation.

“I’m not thinking about other things at the moment. Obviously, it doesn’t just depend on me, does it? A player always has to want to be here, but at the same time you have to want him to stay. At the moment, I feel there’s that on both sides,” he told DAZN Portugal.

“I’m not thinking too much about the future, not least because, obviously, this season hasn’t been at the level I’d hoped for, either individually or collectively, so far. We could still end the season by winning the cup. After that, we have a very important Euros coming up.

“So, if you want me to be very honest, if I have to think about not continuing in the Premier League, it won’t be until after the Euros, because nothing will be able to take my focus away from the FA Cup final and the Euros, as there’s nothing more important than that at the moment.”

Manchester United went on to win the FA Cup, and now eight days later claims have emerged of Bayern Munich and Barcelona interest.

First came O Jogo, with an introduction reading: ‘Bayern in talks for Bruno Fernandes – The German club, as learned by O JOGO, has already started contacts with agent Miguel Pinho. Barcelona are also paying attention.’

That was followed by a short article, but essentially the story is in the introduction.

Shortly after, A Bola joined in: ‘According to what A BOLA found out, from a source close to the player, both clubs have already developed contacts to find out the conditions for a transfer, and may soon formally move forward.’

Neither Portuguese newspaper had these claims in their Sunday editions, so it’s obviously something that has been brought to their attention around lunchtime.

Miguel Pinho is Bruno Fernandes’ agent and it does not take a great leap to believe the ‘source close to the player’, who A Bola speak of, is one and the same.

Manchester United wouldn’t leak this to the Portuguese media. Bayern Munich and Barcelona wouldn’t do so individually either, and there’s only really one other likely source.

Its also worth pointing out that it’s very unlikely this will have been plucked from thin air. There’s no big reason for O Jogo or A Bola to do so, it’s not their core market and hasn’t been saved for a newspaper front page. In addition, they wouldn’t go around making up big claims about a key Portugal player ahead of the Euros.

Throughout the Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United transfer saga, the Portuguese press were way out in front. When the English media were sneering, saying there was no interest and the club didn’t like the player’s pass completion statistics, the Portuguese media were insisting the interest was concrete and a deal looked on the cards.

Of course, time proved them correct. What’s the purpose of that little tale? Well, the Portuguese media were getting their information from somewhere and it wasn’t just Sporting trying to sell a player.

So why would these latest claims be leaked? The most obvious answer would be that the player and his agent feel a new contract is deserved, and that feeling was likely encouraged by those April claims explained at the start of this article.

Fernandes is not the highest paid player at Old Trafford, and last renewed his contract in April 2022. Indeed, reports have indicated he’s been overtaken by further arrivals and renewals.

Depending on which claims you choose to believe, most or all of Casemiro, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount have been on higher salaries.

The problem for Miguel Pinho as an agent is that Manchester United essentially have his client secured until 2027. With a contract lasting until June 2026 and the option for an extra year, there’s three more seasons ahead and no immediate pressure for the club. A relatively late bloomer at the highest level, Bruno won’t have earned big wages until his move to Old Trafford, and those representing him will obviously believe he deserves more.

Pinho’s job is therefore to create pressure, and that’s what this all looks like. Perhaps the effort suggests that those now in charge at Manchester United aren’t rushing into renewal talks.

Regarding Barcelona interest, the Catalan media are starting to pick up the claims from Portugal, with Mundo Deportivo saying that due to the associated costs, signing Bruno Fernandes is: ‘An operation that Barça, today, cannot undertake.’

Sport, the other Barcelona focused daily, has  a similar take: ‘Given Barça’s difficult economic situation, it seems difficult to think that the Manchester United captain is a priority, since his qualities, despite being beyond doubt, would be very similar to profiles that the Barça club already has in players such as Gündogan or Pedri.’

Do not be surprised to see claims of a swap deal involving Frenkie De Jong emerge in the coming days, that just feels like an inevitability of transfer rumours.

The German media has previously talked down the idea of Bayern Munich interest, yet the club obviously needs some kind of boost having finished third in the Bundesliga and gone through a managerial recruitment process which was all too public and all too embarrassing.

Right now, this looks like a Manchester United domestic situation. Should those in charge not react then it will be down to Miguel Pinho, and indeed Bruno Fernandes, to decide how far to push things… and whether an exit becomes a realistic outcome.