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Man Utd can repeat Bruno Fernandes trick with star Pep Guardiola branded 'best in world'

Manchester United may well have identified the solution to the club’s midfield malaise in Sporting’s Matheus Nunes – a player previously dubbed “one of the best in the world” by Pep Guardiola. Reports in the Sporting star’s native Portugal claim the Red Devils are set to battle it out with rivals Manchester City over the 23-year-old this summer and United will be hoping they can repeat their Bruno Fernandes trick should they land the highly-rated midfielder.

According to Portuguese outlet Correio da Manhã, United have joined neighbours City in the race for the £43million-rated Nunes as they seek to address their ongoing midfield concerns. But persuading the Portugal international to snub City’s interest in favour of a move to Old Trafford may take some doing – especially after Guardiola’s charm offensive back in February.

Following his side’s 5-0 thumping of Sporting in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League Round of 16 encounter, the Spaniard couldn’t help but heap praise on Nunes, who impressively caught the eye despite his side’s struggles to contain City. Guardiola gushed: “Sporting are a fantastic team, they are the champions of Portugal, which have a very strong league, with Porto and Benfica, they change the ball well, they have fast and intelligent players.

“I would say that Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today. Despite the difficulties and some mistakes, I have to be very satisfied because we took a big step towards the next round.”

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While the high-praise from Pep will no doubt have made its mark on Nunes, it’s United, not City, who are most in need of acquiring the aspiring midfielder. With the likes of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard all on their way out of Old Trafford this summer, the club’s much-maligned midfield is in dire need of a significant shake-up.

And in Nunes, United may well have discovered the answer. The central midfielder has sparkled for Sporting over the past two seasons with his performances for his club side seeing the Portuguese playmaker rightly rewarded with caps at international level.

While City are understood to be hopeful of exploiting their healthy relationship with Sporting to help land the rising star, United will no doubt be full of confidence for the same reason. United historically have strong ties to the club from the Portuguese capital, having previously poached Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernandes. And it’s the latter who could act as inspiration over a potential Nunes deal.

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