United seemed to be on the home straight for Fernandes’ signature after Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool ended their interest in the midfielder this week.
But reports in Portugal now claim Atleti will try to lure Fernandes to the Spanish capital once Antoine Griezmann leaves.
Newspaper A Bola report that the La Liga club will open up with an offer between £44.6million (€50m) and £53.5m (€60m).
Los Rojiblancos will only pursue Fernandes once they receive funds for Griezmann, who will be sold to the club this summer with Barcelona the likely suitors.
Fernandes enjoyed a breakthrough season in Primeira Liga, scoring 20 goals and laying on 13 assists, which garnered the interest of many European sides.
The Sporting captain is contracted to the club until 2023, meaning any suitors will have to pay a premium.
The player favours a move to England and will not force a move this summer.
Speaking to Portuguese station Radio Renascenca earlier this week, the 24-year-old said: “Of course it is possible to continue in Sporting.
“I do not know what the truth of what has been in the newspapers is.
“I will have time now to know this, but I’m good at Sporting.
“I never said that I want to leave, but there are dreams that I would like to fulfil and one of them is to play in England.
“It is not now the English clubs and interested parties appear that I say this. It was always a dream.
“I’m good at Sporting, I do not think about leaving but there are clubs and proposals that cannot be rejected.
“I will only do this if Sporting agrees with me.”
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