Sporting playmaker Bruno Fernandes has claimed that he was “eager” to seal a move to Tottenham during the summer transfer window.
Fernandes attracted attention from a number of top clubs across Europe with his performances for Sporting last season.
The Portugal international contributed 20 goals and 13 assists to Sporting’s Primeira Liga cause, while also netting six goals in cup competitions.
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Manchester United and Real Madrid were heavily linked with the 25-year-old, but he ended up staying at Jose Alvalade Stadium and put pen to paper on a new contract in November.
Tottenham were also thought to be in the hunt for Fernandes, and the midfielder confirmed that he was in contact with the club over a potential switch.
The Sporting midfielder has expressed his regret over the failed transfer, insisting the Spurs were the only club whose project lived up to his “expectations”.
“In the summer I thought I could go out,” Fernandes told Record. “I believed it was a good time to leave due to many factors. I made the best time of my career to date.
“After the UEFA Nations League, there were already many contacts, especially with Tottenham. It was the team that wanted me the most and was the only one I agreed to talk with, because there were other clubs that didn’t interest me or whose project was not up to my expectations.
“Tottenham fit into everything I wish I had at that moment. It is an appealing championship. Knowing that Tottenham would be willing to pay for me and make every possible effort to take me, leaves a player eager to take that step.
“Regardless, I always kept my word that it was up to Sporting to decide whether or not to leave. Nothing changed my desire to be here and to want to stay here. Sporting nurtured me, gave me a lot. It was a source of great pride and honour to continue representing Sporting.
“Obviously, the transfer market moves any player, especially when we know which clubs are behind us or want us, but I’ve always tried to stay focused because the image I want to leave at Sporting is that. Until the last day I am here, I will always do my best and continue to do my best.”
Despite the fact that Fernandes is now tied to Sporting until 2023, speculation over his future continues to swirl ahead of the January transfer window.
The Portuguese admits he still has “dreams” to fulfil, but he wants his next club to nurture him in the same way that Sporting have done over the last two years.
“I don’t know if the dream can wait long, I don’t know if clubs are willing to wait long or not, but if a club really wants me, whether today or tomorrow, I think it will try. If not try it is because the interest is not so great,” Fernandes added.
“I am not outstanding. I am not Cristiano Ronaldo, I am not Lionel Messi, I have the notion of that.
“I still have a lot to grow, but when I want to leave Sporting I want it to be what it was like when I came to Sporting: the club wanted me, nurtured me, gave me everything I needed to grow and today I am what I’m because of Sporting.”
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