Correio da Manha says United are still ahead in the race to sign Fernandes - despite Manchester City holding talks with Sporting chiefs this week.
Treble-winners City were reportedly holding talks with Sporting president Frederico Varandas about building a partnership between the two clubs to sign talented youngsters from around the globe.
But they used the opportunity to press their case to sign Fernandes.
City have already had a bid of €45million (£40m) for Fernandes rejected, with Sporting holding out for €70million (£63m).
The Portuguese outlet claims United are still ahead in the race as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to build a squad capable of getting back into the Premier League's top four.