Manuel Pellegrini tried to land the midfielder before the January transfer window closed – but the Portuguese outfit wanted £8million.

And while Fernando, 26, has a complicated contract and ownership agreement, City have been told he will be a free agent in the summer.

Porto have been trying to persuade the defensive midfi elder to sign a new £50k-a-week deal with them but he has refused to do so.

Fernando is also wanted by Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus but City are privately claiming he wants to join them.

The player’s international future has also been unclear. He was born in Brazil and has played for their Under-20s team.

But he recently became a Portuguese citizen and has indicated he would like to be considered for Portugal’s World Cup squad for this summer’s tournament – in Brazil!