Bruno Fernandes: Manchester United’s Target
After Manchester City cooled their interest in Bruno Fernandes last week, Manchester United are the favourites to land the midfielder. The twenty-four-year-old is enjoying his best season since turning professional and is expected to cost in excess of £50 million. But who is Bruno Fernandes?
Who is Bruno Fernandes?
Currently at Sporting Lisbon, Bruno Fernandes made his professional debut for Novara in Serie B. After only one season with the club, he was snatched up by Udinese. Fernandes went on to make 86 appearances, scoring ten goals for Udinese. Fernandes spent three years with Udinese, before moving on to Sampdoria.
After only a season in Sampdoria, Fernandes signed for Sporting Lisbon, in 2017. After his first season, he was named the Primeira Liga player of the year, an accolade he is likely to pick up against this season. He also made his full international debut during his first season with Sporting and has gone on to pick up eleven caps to date.
A central midfielder, one of Fernandes’ biggest strengths is his ability to find space between lines. When paired with a pacey forward, this poses a problem for defenders; they either close him down, allowing him to play in a striker, or stand off of him, allowing him to shoot.
Another of Fernandes strengths is his high-quality passing range. He is equally adept at finding teammates in tight spaces as at switching the ball quickly to open full backs.
With twenty-five goals and thirteen assists to his name, Fernandes has enjoyed his best season. His three goals from outside of the area highlight his long-range shooting ability, but it is his sixteen goals from inside the box which are most notable. His ability to find space in the box and anticipate where the ball will fall should translate well to goals in other leagues.
How Would He Fit in At United?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opted for a midfield three on the majority of occasions since taking charge. This is the system in which Fernandes fits most. With a deeper midfielder behind him, Fernandes is given the freedom to find pockets of space, where he is most dangerous.
His playing style would compliment Paul Pogba and provide two midfield goalscorers. This is something United have missed this season, with Ander Herrera‘s three goals the second most among central midfielders. Furthermore, his creativity would be gratefully received. Only two United players provided more than four assists this season.
Whether he is able to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League could be Fernandes’ biggest challenge. Should Pogba depart, Fernandes will not be a direct replacement. Injuries have not been a barrier to his career to date, with minimal history.