Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Bruno Fernandes on a five-and-a-half year contract with the option of a further year. The 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder arrived in Manchester on Wednesday evening as United face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg, which they won 1-0 but lost 3-2 on aggregate. Fernandes was linked to the Old Trafford club all last summer and throughout January.
Fernandes made his professional debut playing for Novara, a club he came through the youth team during the 2012/13 season. He had previously played for Infesta, Boavista and was loaned to Pasteliera whilst playing youth football. During the summer of 2013, Fernandes signed for Udinese in Italy, spending three seasons at the club before signing for Sampdoria in the summer of 2016.
The following summer Fernandes returned to Portugal with Sporting CP, who paid €8.5 million for the player, signing him to a contract with a €100 million release clause. He played for the club for two full seasons, playing around half of the current season. Fernandes has played 137 times for Sporting, scoring 63 goals with a further 52 assists in all competitions, including pre-season matches.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ideally needed to strengthen the midfield during the summer but only signed Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Harry Maguire. Fernandes becomes his fourth signing at the club and there should be many more coming in either this month, which might seem unlikely, or in the summer, which should see United better prepared to get the team ready for the 2020/21 season, which needs to show a lot of improvement.
Fernandes has played for times for Sporting this month; a 2-1 home defeat to FC Porto, a 3-1 away victory over Vitória Setúbal, in which he scored a brace, a 2-0 home defeat to Benfica, and a 1-0 away victory over Marítimo. The 25-year-old has played 2,114 minutes of competitive football for the Portuguese club this season and will be ready to make his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening, ahead of the winter break.
When Solskjaer has a full team available, Fernandes could line up with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay in a three-man midfield, which could get United playing the right way. Of course, there would be more depth in the team with Nemanja Matic, Fred plus the likes of James Garner and Dylan Levitt if they do not head out on loan this month, which would be good for their future to gain more first team experience.
Speaking about signing for United, Fernandes speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:
“My love of Manchester United really started when I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo play and ever since then I have been a big fan of this great club.
“For me to now play for Manchester United feels incredible, I have worked hard to get to this moment and I can promise the fans that I will give everything for the badge to help bring us more success and trophies.
“I want to thank Sporting for everything they have done for me. It is surreal to hear the nice words that have been said about me from players that used to play for this team.
“A massive thank you to Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and everyone at Manchester United for the trust they have shown in me and I can’t wait to start to repay that on the pitch.”
Solskjaer followed by speaking about his fourth signing for the club, saying:
“We have been tracking Bruno [Fernandes] for many months and everyone here has been tremendously impressed with all his attributes and what he will bring to this team.
“Most importantly he is a terrific human being with a great personality and his leadership qualities are clear for all to see. Bruno’s goals and assists stats speak for themselves, he will be a fantastic addition to our team and he will help us push on in the second part of the season.
“The winter break is coming at a perfect time for us to integrate Bruno into the squad and for him to get to know his team-mates.”
This is an exciting time for United supporters who will be looking forward to seeing Fernandes line up for his new club, starting on Saturday. There will then be a break with United not playing until Monday 17 October 2020 when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before facing Club Brugge away from home as the round of 32 stage of the UEFA Europa League commences again, a competition Fernandes could still play in for United.