Fernandes penned a new contract towards the end of 2019 which made him Sporting’s highest-paid player ever.
And ESPN add that United and Sporting’s meeting took place after the Portuguese club used intermediaries to contact the Premier League giants.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in Lisbon to watch Fernandes firsthand in their defeat to Porto earlier this month, with his assistant Mike Phelan joining him on his trip.
But the Norwegian has been coy when he’s been asked about his interest in the attack-minded midfielder.
“I can’t talk about individuals that play for other clubs, but I’ve got to say I do have the backing,” he said.
“We do have the backing to do something if the right thing comes up in this window.
“The owners and [vice-executive chairman] Ed [Woodward], they know what we’re building towards.”