Manchester United completed the signing of Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window and the player made his United debut in a 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. The 25-year-old got his first assist in a 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League on the 17 February, scoring his first goal for the club a matter of days later in a 3-0 victory over Watford, also getting an assist in that match. During the 2019/20 season, Fernandes made 22 appearances for United, scoring 12 goals and eight assists. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with his midfielders performances last season and continues to be this season.
In total, including his heroics for his former club, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Fernandes made 50 appearances, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists – meaning he was involved in 49 goal contributions, almost equalling one goal per match. He also finished the season as the UEFA Europa League Golden Boot winner, scoring eight goals in the competition with a further four assists. United signed Fernandes for an initial £45 million and could spend a total of £66.7 million for the player if all add-ons are paid. The Sun has reported that £2.74 million has already been paid following United’s qualification for the UEFA Champions League this season.
Former United central defender Rio Ferdinand was quoted on BT Sport regarding Fernandes, where he works as a pundit, as saying:
“This man is ice cold in these situations. He changes his run-up a little bit there from his usual hop, skip and jump thing. The pressure was on but he calmed himself down and went back to basics.”
Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole, also working as a pundit for BT Sport, was quoted as saying:
“We could see that while all the melee was going on, Bruno was the coolest man in this building. It was a great penalty.”
Since ha arrived at United, Fernandes has changed the mentality of the team and been a player that has underlined Solskjaer’s plans for the club moving forward. Prior to his January arrival, United were in a period whereby they were without Paul Pogba for a number of months with two separate ankle injuries and there was a distinct lack of creativity in the midfield which hampered United’s attacking players and their hunt to score goals. Before his arrival United had scored 61 goals in all competitions with 51 goals being scored after his arrival. This season, Fernandes has made three appearances for his club, scoring one goal and two assists.
The latest clause to become payable, after the Champions League qualification clause, is his 25 appearances for United, which was achieved in the 3-2 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon, which saw United concede the equaliser in added time then win a penalty, which was awarded by VAR after the referee blew the final whistle. Fernandes took the penalty, winning the match for United, meaning that in his 25 appearances for the club so far, the 25-year-old has scored 13 goals and 10 assists, meaning that he has 23 goal contributions or 0.92 goals per match at the club, which is a great statistic and one which will become even greater as the season goes on.
If Fernandes can achieve 25 goals for the club this season, adding 20 assists, it could see United have a very strong attacking side. Added to this, if Anthony Martial can build upon his 23 goals and 12 assists from last season, with Marcus Rashford also building on his 22 goals and 11 assists and last of all Mason Greenwood building on his 17 goals and five assists, United could be close to reaching 100 goals or more just from four players at the club. Should this happen, it will not only enforce that United attacking line is one of the best in the league but also that Solskjaer has achieved a feat in turning a United team that limped across their hurdles into a team worthy of challenging for trophies.
Written by John Walker