Manchester United’s lack of transfer activity had caused somewhat of a furor in the midst of the supporters, which has not been helped by the lackluster performances on the field.
Winning their local rivals Manchester City in the second leg of Cup semi-final was too little too late as they still lost on aggregate goals. And they are riddled with injuries to key players: Paul Pogba is out indefinitely, Scott McTominay’s return is not set and Marcus Rashford will spend extended time in the sidelines. Something had to happen in the transfer front, if only to stay believable in the marketplace.
United had been following a Portuguese hot prospect since Jose Mourinho was in charge and their interest in the now 25-year-old midfielder only intensified last summer, but the club failed to meet the demands of Sporting Lisbon and Fernandes started his season in Portugal. Bruno Fernandes had made his mark in Italian Serie A, representing Sampdoria and Udinese for 120 games before moving back to his native Portugal for the 2017/2018 season.
The skillful central midfielder made a real impact at Sporting, overall scoring 63 goals and 52 assists in 137 games. The captain of Sporting Lisbon, Fernandes didn’t let the transfer speculation hinder his performances: this season he has scored 15 goals in 28 games in all competitions for Sporting, while adding 14 assists. In Portuguese top tier Liga NOS, Fernandes leads his team in both goals and assists.
Fernandes is immensely skilled with the ball and a visionary passer, able to find openings in the narrowest of places. His scoring ability will add a completely new aspect to Manchester United’s midfield and if and when Paul Pogba is returning, the duo is likely to work wonders together. Not only is Fernandes exactly what the doctor ordered for Manchester United, he was – in the end – relatively cheap acquisition with £~50M initial fee. The add-ons are likely to take the sum up some, but Manchester United can definitely afford it, because they simply had to.
United will take on Wolves at Old Trafford on the 1st of February – Fernandes’ participation is not yet confirmed nor denied.