United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was not at Old Trafford as Solskjaer’s side booked their place in the fourth-round courtesy of Juan Mata’s clipped finish.
However, head of corporate development Matt Judge, who takes a leading role in negotiating transfers for United, was spotted arriving at the club’s Carrington training ground on Thursday morning.
Judge might be fighting a losing battle to get the deal done in the next 24 hours, however, with Sporting desperate for Fernandes to play in Friday night’s Lisbon derby against Benfica.
United have attempted to convince Sporting to let Fernandes leave by offering to throw Marcos Rojo, Joel Pereira or Angel Gomes into the bargain.
Sporting were reluctant to take Pereira, however, while Rojo’s wages mean he is unlikely to return to the club United bought him from during Louis van Gaal’s reign.