It might have taken some time but Manchester United have finally got their man. Bruno Fernandes has been on the club’s radar since last summer but he is their man now.
After weeks of public discussion, the Red Devils were able to strike a deal with the Primeira Liga club while also fending off overdue interest from Barcelona to guarantee the 25-year-old’s services.
If the full £70million is compensated, Fernandes would eventually become the third-most-expensive participant in the club’s history. All eyes will undoubtedly be about the prolific midfielder and United’s decision to pursue him will be scrutinised in the off.
So why did they pursue the prior Udinese person so aggressively when there are loads of other players around who are doing in higher-quality leagues?
The reality is, it’s hard to shop from the Primeira Liga. The quality on show is not what it once was, the big three, Sporting, Benfica and FC Porto are notoriously tough to negotiate with, and players often have excessive release exemptions.
These are the success stories. Additionally, there are numerous unsuccessful stories.
However, the Red Devils has completed their research. They have seen him measure up when it matters most the Leões. They have seen him is exactly what United want within their existing set-up.
Though famed for his goalscoring exploits, the prior Sampdoria guy is significantly more than that. And it’s just as well really. His target record is remarkable however, in open-play, Fernandes is not anywhere near as dangerous and this has to be addressed.
United fans may feel as if they’re getting a 20-goal-a-season midfielder. Fernandes could well hit those numbers if he is on set-piece duty. But relying on penalties and free-kicks for goals is not sustainable.
In open-play, he is averaging 0.18 goals and his anticipated goals average is 0.18. It’s a significant drop-off but it would still make him one of the most potent midfielders from the Premier League from open-play.
Fernandes has carved out a name as a long-distance shot but his knack of coming in the playground at just the perfect time is what makes him such an attractive prospect for United. With Ole Gunnar Solskjær now using Anthony Martial for a false-nine, there is a great deal of room in fundamental regions for others to exploit.
However, there could be an adjustment period. It’s unlikely he will have the ability to keep the quantity of shots he has been taking. So far this term he has averaged 3.53 and this is an abnormally higher figure for a midfielder. In actuality, this kind of average is generally associated with some of the better forwards in the league. So that’s very likely to decrease. But all that really means is Fernandes taking fewer shots from space, which is not always a bad thing.
As mentioned before, the energetic 25-year-old brings more to a group than just goals.
Normally, 35 percent of his moves move forward, showing he is always looking to advance play. He’s playing a large number of important moves and he can also dribble past a guy, meaning there are various ways he can conquer the defensive lines.
For instance, Dele Alli, another attacking midfield like Fernandes, plays only 25 percent of his moves forward, a typical the terrific David Silva has handled during the 2018/19 effort also.
Yes, they are playing in various leagues, in various systems and, possibly, in various roles. But that stat reveals Fernandes is constantly looking to make something happen. He is a creative force in addition to a goalscorer. An invaluable combination in today’s game.
He isn’t just good going forward, either. He also chips. Normally, Fernandes wins the ball back on 3.35 times per 90 in the middle third, revealing he is comfortable in a pressing system and needing to win back the ball until it reaches his defence.
Fernandes may not hit the heights he reached in Portugal while playing for United, but he is still a substantial upgrade on the current group of midfielders in Old Trafford. He could quickly establish himself as a primary attacking hub for the Red Devils.