Manchester United might have to pay Sporting Club de Portugal more money this summer after singing Bruno Fernandes, 25, during the January transfer window. The Sun has reported that the £47 million initial signing might raise to £56 million this summer with an extra £9 million being paid to the Portuguese club providing United do actually qualify for the UEFA Champions League this season, which was one of the clauses in the player’s contract when a deal was done at the start of the year. United will have budgeted for this.
The media, however, seem to sensationalise this as more money taken out of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s budget for the summer, which could be make or break for United. One of the clauses in the contract for the sale was that after 20 appearances for United, £4.5 million would be payable to the Portuguese club. Then if United finished in the top four positions of the Premier League, therefore earning UEFA Champions League football, a further £4.5 million would be payable – a total of £9 million. Executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward will have budgeted for this.
Fernandes has made 18 appearances for United already with two more Premier League matches left to play; West Ham United on Wednesday and Leicester City on Sunday, which will end the domestic season for the club. To add to those appearances will be the UEFA Europa League which will resume inside the next fortnight with United facing LASK at Old Trafford, despite being 5-0 up from the first leg of the round of 16 stage. That will ensure that United will have to pay at least £4.5 million in add-ons this summer as part of the Fernandes deal.
Allegedly, according to The Sun report, which comes from Portuguese newspaper A Bola, Sporting were not happy with the clauses as at the time United signed Fernandes, it was unlikely that they could achieve Champions League football so that additional £4.5 million wold not be something they could receive any time soon. However, with the club 19-match unbeaten run, they seem to have changed that making it realistic, especially if Solskjaer’s side beat West Ham which will put pressure on both Leicester, who lost to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and Chelsea, who will face Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday evening.
Fernandes has been a revelation for United this season, tasting defeat once, on Sunday at the hands of Chelsea, and scoring nine goals and eight assists in his 18 appearances, which shows the type of player that he is – a winner. United will need to ensure they keep him fit as when he does not play, United look less of a team. I guess this shows how important the upcoming transfer window is this summer with Solskjaer seeking to strengthen his team significantly to help them achieve something next season. United should be ready to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title.
The rest of the season could be a big step up for Fernandes and his teammates. Achieving Champions League football was the main thing to aim for at the start of the season and that looked like a tough task at the time. However, with an upturn in form, things have developed and it is no coincidence that this happened after Fernandes’ arrival in January. The future looks good for United. If Solskjaer can ensure his team win their next two matches, they will achieve the bare minimum this season – Champions League football. If they can challenge in the Europa League too, possibly ending with a trophy, it will be the start of something.
Written by John Walker