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Manchester United Transfer Target Profile: Bruno Fernandes

We take a closer look at the man who may be United’s next signing

Vitoria FC v Sporting CP - Liga NOS Photo by Paulo Nascimento / DPI / NurPhoto via Getty Images

It appears that the Bruno Fernandes transfer saga is finally nearing an end. Multiple reports are claiming that he has agreed to a contract with Manchester United until 2025 and that Sporting CP expect the £60m deal to be completed this week. Ideally, Sporting keep the player for their match vs Benfica, and he moves afterwards.

So who exactly is Bruno Fernandes and why do United want him?

The 25-year-old Portuguese international can score and plays in midfield, and that pretty much says it all right there. With key injuries and a lack of scoring threat in that position, Fernandes will seemingly fill a void that United desperately need to address.

Through 15 domestic matches with current club Sporting Lisbon, Fernandes has 8 goals and 7 assists in league play and an additional 5 goals and 3 assists in five Europa League matches.

Those numbers are head-turning enough on their own, but now compare that to United’s current options in the midfield positions and you will quickly see why United badly needs someone like Fernandes in the lineup:

  • Dan James: 21 games – 3 goals, 6 assists
  • Andreas Pereira: 19 games – 1 goal, 3 assists
  • Scott McTominay: 17 games – 3 goals, 1 assist – Out until mid-February with injury
  • Fred and Jesse Lingard: 18 games – 0 goals and 0 assists
  • Juan Mata: 13 games – 0 goals, 2 assists
  • Paul Pogba: 7 games – 0 goals, 2 assists – Out 3-4 weeks with injury

Fernandes started his professional career in the summer of 2012 when he signed for Serie B team Novara. After spending one season with Novara, he signed for Udinese in Serie A.

After spending three years at Udinese (86 games, 10 goals), Fernandes was sent to Sampdoria on a loan deal with an obligation to be signed permanently, where he spent one season and scored 5 goals in 33 appearances.

In June of 2017, Fernandes returned to his native Portugal when he signed a 5-year deal with Sporting Lisbon. The reported fee was £8.5 million with a staggering £100m buyout clause.

With Sporting, Fernandes became the scoring threat many teams coveted. His breakout season was in 2018-19 where he scored 20 times in 33 domestic appearances.

His role with United

Fernandes could fit into this United team as either an attacking midfielder or a central midfielder who can chip in with goals. Currently, with the current United midfield lineup, the attacking threat just isn’t there and United have been forced to deploy more of a defensive midfield set-up.

Fernandes gives United an attacking option that is lacking. In theory, once Pogba and McTominay return from injury, United will have quite an offensive-minded midfield — something that hasn’t been the case for quite some time.

If used as a central midfielder his defensive contribution is steady but not spectacular, but that is not the reason United want him. In the past when he has played central midfield, he usually excels when he is partnered with a defensive-minded midfielder. He is an accomplished passer of the ball and is not afraid to attempt difficult passes in order to cut open a defense or switch the play.

The latest reports

Sky Sports News reports that although a deal is close, Sporting are looking to get a little more out of United to finalize the deal. Reports suggest that the out of favor Marcos Rojo might be a part of the deal as well. Rojo joined United from Sporting CP in 2014.

Fernandes scored twice in Sporting’s 3-1 win at Setubal on Friday and after the match was spotted bidding farewell to Sporting Lisbon fans.