With the recent signing of Joao Felix and the winning of the UEFA Nations League, Portugal is turning into a force to be reckoned with. The Portuguese attacking midfielder shone in the recent 2-2 match against Liverpool and had several impressive performances in the Portuguese league under the Sporting CP jersey. His exploits on the attacking aspect took Sporting CP to 3rd place in Liga NOS. Because of the impressive performances of late, a lot of big clubs are trying to entice him to play for them. Out of all of those clubs, one seems very adamant to sign the 24-year-old and that is none other than Manchester United. Will Bruno Fernandes come to Old Trafford and will he complement the club in brilliant ways?
The Talent and Numbers:
Bruno Fernandes has a multitude of skills to offer. His dribbling and general on-the-ball skills are delightful to spectate and difficult to get a read on because while he has a penchant for step-overs and feints, he has a high tenacity to outsmart the dribbler with a simple lane change or clever pass as well. With eagle-like vision, he has had several moments in the past season where he found a free attacker amongst all the surrounding defence and Sporting CP ended up with plus 1 in the goals column. Likewise, he can take fantastic and precise long shots just when a pass is expected. Bruno Fernandes has been on the giving end of several clinical through balls and crosses in high-pressure situations; something which is difficult for even the seasoned players of the game as we all know. Despite being an attacker, he has the presence of mind to charge back and go for the challenge: something that puts the cherry on top of all the traditional attacking midfielder skills( which he seems to have locked down).
He racked up some brilliant stats in his most recent season. He was 2nd on both the assist and goals column, effectively making him the person with the most direct goal contributions in the entire league. When you peer further into his numbers, it just gets all the more impressive: of course, he had a high goal and assist counts ( 20 and 13 respectively) but he’s been very tenacious and effective on the field. He averaged 3.6 shots per game along with 3.2 key passes. Those are all over the course of 33 games, which regardless of how highly to rate the Portuguese League is still very impressive. He averaged 1.8 crosses and 4.3 long balls over those games, illustrating how skilled he is. As said earlier, he was impressive in defence as well with 1.7 tackles per game. All these numbers go to show how much of a heavyweight he could turn out to be in the Reddevil's jersey.
Factoring in at Manchester United:
Of course Manchester United had a rough season, landing 6th on the table, trophy-less and will have to miss out on the coming Champions League. They haven’t tasted Premier League Champion status since the departure of legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. Patrons are agitated and Manchester United will certainly need some fresh blood to rekindle the fire of the SAF years. They already signed Wan Bissaka who was impressive in the first few friendlies and looks to be a good signing but Bruno Fernandes would serve to fine-tune their midfield. Being a little attack-minded, he could be rotated with Nemanja Matic to experiment with a more aggressive attack. The Portuguese midfielder could play alongside Matic as well, if Solskjaer wants to play a more balanced midfield (in terms of defence and offence) in which the Serbian could provide cover. He could be a good Pogba replacement as he has a strength for long balls, scoring, dribbling and ball control. Even if Paul Pogba chooses to stay, he can play with Pogba for more formational diversity or play aggressive 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 and 3-4-1-2 formations, even changing them during the match, forcing opponents to rethink their strategy. Because of the diversity of formations that could be played and his track record in the Liga NOS, being very strong as an attacker, Bruno Fernandes might just be the thing Man U needs for reclaiming the PL throne. In the end, it not hard to understand why the figure being thrown around is in the €70 million vicinity.