According to La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist, Nicolo Schira, Manchester United have offered around €35m for Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes. This does not appear enough to acquire the highly-rated midfielder, as Sporting were hoping for a fee more in the region of €60m-€70m.
Sporting will certainly view Fernandes as being worth every penny that they are asking, as last season Fernandes managed to break Frank Lampard’s record of scoring 27 goals in a season, scoring 28 goals from a deeper position than Lampard. Not only did the Sporting man manage to score this staggering number of goals, but he also registered 14 assists, showing that he is the complete midfielder technically.
At 179cm tall, Fernandes is not the most physical midfielder. However, a comparison could be drawn between him and fellow countryman Bernardo Silva, who Fernandes is taller than Bernardo Silva, who is 173cm. When Bernardo Silva plays in midfield no one questions his stature due to a technical superiority which Bruno Fernandes shares. This would allow Manchester United to rest easy, knowing that they would be spending big on a player who is capable of handling the physical nature of the Premier League. This opinion was echoed in a Transfer Talk podcast, where Portuguese expert Ruben Dias stated that he would thrive due to him being quick and strong with good positioning.
Fernandes is a player who is ready to step out of the shadows of Portuguese football. Having already shown he can adapt to a foreign setting, he played well at Sampdoria, in Italy. He matured whilst in Italy, as when he was 20 years of age a weakness of his was the tactical side of his game. Now that is fine-tuned, he is in a superb position to go to one of the great European clubs.
What makes Bruno Fernandes so desirable for elite clubs across Europe is that he plays like a traditional number 10, but is equally adaptable to play in the traditional number 8 role. This provides both goals and assists from a deeper area. This is priceless for many clubs as arguably only Manchester City have these types of players in abundance in the form of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Bernardo Silva.
This flexibility will prove instrumental to Fernandes being deemed a success. With Pogba’s future remaining in the balance, Fernandes could either replace him as the most advanced midfielder as the player to score goals and provide for attackers, or he could fill a deeper, more box to box style of role. The ability for Fernandes to bend his game based on who is around him is a valuable commodity which cannot be overlooked.
Ultimately, United are desperate for players who can push them to another level. Fernandes seems the type that can provide this inspiration as the Sporting man has proved in big moments this season that he can be relied upon. In a potentially exciting move for the club, he could prove to be the catalyst for a much improved Manchester United next season.