Sporting Lisbon's president has made an alarming admission about the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis on player value.
Frederico Varandas claims Bruno Fernandes would now be sold for just a quarter of the initial £47million Manchester United paid for the midfielder in January.
Varandas admits he is kept up at night by the thought the Portugal midfielder would now only be sold for just €10-15million (£8.9-13.4million).
Varandas' claim comes after player value experts Transfermarkt reduced valuations by 10-20 per cent last month.
However, a 75 per cent reduction in what Sporting would now sell Fernandes for sees Varandas implying tat the market has crashed well beyond expectations amid the pandemic.
“Now sometimes I go to bed and imagine what would happen if we tried to sell Bruno Fernandes now — what would the price be? €15 [million], €10 [million]?,” Varandas told the New York Times.
“I don’t know what the value of a footballer is now. Sporting, Porto, Benfica, all the clubs in Portugal we have to sell players.”
Varandas' admission that Sporting must sell their stars means United may have missed the chance to buy Fernandes for a much-reduced fee in the summer window.
Meanwhile, Sporting remain in a stand-off with Sampdoria over an alleged outstanding payment in the wake of Fernandes' transfer.
Sampdoria sold Fernandes to the Portuguese club for £7.5million in 2017 and claim they are entitled to 10 per cent of any future profit made on him.
And as Fernandes was sold to United for an initial fee of £47million rising to £67.6million with add-ons, Sampdoria claim they are owed £4million.
The Serie A side's complaints have reportedly sparked a FIFA probe into the incident, with Sporting denying that any money is owed as Fernandes rescinded his contract - thus becoming a free agent - before re-signing with the club in 2018.
The Liga NOS club are already cash-strapped due to a German bank blocking payments for Fernandes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite the attention on his value and the ongoing dispute between former clubs, Fernandes has delighted United fans since his January move.
He has scored twice and assisted three times in his first five Premier League games to earn the Premier League Player of the Month award for February.