Arsenal saw ‘£17m bid for Sporting Lisbon wonderkid Joelson Fernandes’ fail after 17-year-old forward’s father convinced him to sign new deal at the Portuguese side
- Joelson Fernandes has been tracked by some of Europe’s biggest sides
- Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have shown keen interest in the forward
- Jurgen Klopp had been hoping to land 17-year-old as Sadio Mane’s apprentice
- But under his father’s advice he has now pledged a three-year-deal with Sporting
- New deal features a new hefty transfer release clause of £54.5million
Arsenal reportedly saw their hopes dashed to sign rising Portugal star Joelson Fernandes, after the player’s father advised the 17-year-old to commit his future to Sporting Lisbon.
The Gunners are among some of Europe’s biggest clubs very keen on the forward who only made his senior debut in the summer.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Ajax, PSG and Barcelona have also shown an interest in Fernandes, whose father Eusebio admitted the growing proposals for his talented son from those clubs would ‘make any businessman tired’.
Portugal Under 21 star Joelson Fernandes has attracted interest from major European clubs
According to Odemocrata Mikel Arteta’s side had a £17million pound offer turned down after Eusebio pledged to honour his current club.
He told the outlet: ‘It was an extremely difficult and very complicated process.
‘Because there were tough moments in the negotiations for Joelson Fernandes to stay at Sporting.
But despite Liverpool and Arsenal interest he has signed a new deal at Sporting Lisbon
‘My wish was always for him to stay at the club, but due to his quality as a footballer, he had calls from several European clubs.’
Fernandes, who was born in Guinea-Bissau but has represented Portugal throughout his youth up to Under 21 level, only started training with Sporting’s first team after lockdown and has gone to make four appearances since July.
He can play either side of the centre forward, preferring the left, and is now tied down to the Portuguese capital until the summer of 2023 with his new contract featuring a £54.5million release clause.
The reports goes on to state that Fernandes’s father had three meetings with Liverpool whose plans under Jurgen Klopp were to utilise the forward as a first-team back up to Sadio Mane.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side reportedly had a £17million offer turned away for Fernandes
Fernandes has pledged his loyalty to the club that developed him for another three years
He also claims that while a deal to finalise the sale of Rui Patricio to Wolves was being made in 2018, the Midlands club were also looking at Fernandes.
This prompted Sporting president Frederico Varandas to believe he was destined to lose his rising star to the millions of the Premier League, only for Fernandes to show his loyalty with a new deal.
‘It had to be a deliberate decision, because my wish as a father and businessman, on the day that Joelson Fernandes leaves Sporting, is to be friendly and out through the front door, not through the back door,’ Eusebio added.
Liverpool had hopes to lure Fernandes to Anfield as back-up for Sadio Mane
‘This was always one of my goals and one of the convictions that led the player to continue to represent the club.
‘In the meeting I had with Varandas, he explained to me that when he arrived in England last season to close Rui Patricio’s transfer to Wolves, he was confronted with the English club’s interest in Joelson.
‘He told Nuno Espirito Santo that he had no intention of selling. So Sporting did not believe that he would remain in the team because of these clubs and their millionaire proposals.
‘As a businessman, I ended up rejecting these offers, even knowing that I needed those millionaire offers. I thought that in life money is not everything.’