In many ways, the speculation surrounding Bruno Fernandes' seemingly-imminent move to Manchester United has mirrored the season of the team itself - wildly inconsistent, tiresome to everyone involved, and fans just want it to end. Wait, is that about Sporting or United? Hmm.
We'd like to be able to tell you that you can expect the saga put out of its misery in the foreseeable. But unfortunately, there are no such signs.
Instead, what we have for you is another raft of 'updates' that don't clear up the situation any, aren't necessarily true, and if you're a United fan, might reduce you to tears of frustration.
So, consider this your trigger warning before we dive in.
Bruno 'Desperate' for Move
We'll start on a positive note with a nice wee glimmer of hope. We all know United want the deal done, and it seems that the player does too.
Sky Sports report that Fernandes has informed Sporting he wants to get the move over the line sooner rather than later, with talks expected to resume this week in order to work towards the player getting his wish.
The report does note, however, that Sporting are unhappy with United's most recent offer - which they put at an initial £43m rising to £60m in add-ons - and although anything could happen, the general indication is that things could drag on for a while before all parties, Fernandes included, are happy.
United's Rejected Offer
In a report about United's interest about Birmingham's Jude Bellingham, meanwhile, The Times have casually thrown some new information about United's latest offer, which was rejected by Sporting, into the hat.
The figures there are in a similar ball-park to the ones reported by Sky, with United said to have offered £40m in cash plus another £25m in bonuses for his services.
The new information comes as they note that the bonuses included depended on United winning the Premier League, the Champions League, and Fernandes' placing in the Ballon d'Or awards.
Predictably, those stipulations are said to have been laughed off by Sporting, who viewed them as pipe dreams rather than realistic prospects of income. If United are to get away with an initially lowball cash offer then it seems any potential bonuses might actually have to stand a chance of coming in. Maybe if they offered £10m for every time the club miss out on the European spots, it would be worth a second thought.
Impact on United's Summer Plans So Where Do We Actually Stand?
Well, in summary, it's very unclear - but by the day, it's seeming like there are more and more complications.
As far as an agreement with Fernandes himself goes, that shouldn't be an issue. Even if reports that personal terms have already been agreed fall wide of the mark, anything that is left to iron out in that respect shouldn't hold things up too much - or so it seems at present.
The big issue lies with Sporting's demands for money up front, and United's apparent reluctance to give them that.
Most outlets reporting on the situation seem to corroborate the idea that talks between the clubs will be ongoing throughout the next week. Bigger obstacles have certainly been overcome, and Sporting's willingness to keep talking indicates a desire on their end to sell up for the right price - even if their actions say otherwise.
I mean yeah, we could've tweeted about Bruno Fernandes today, but everyone is sick to death of it now.— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) January 19, 2020
Liverpool game is where it's at.
However, who really knows? Just take this one day by day, but for goodness sake, take nothing for granted until it's absolutely confirmed. For your own sake.