Having chased him for many months, Manchester United finally landed Bruno Fernandes in late January. And what a success he has been.
Why Signing Bruno Fernandes Fernandes Was So Important
To fully understand the Red Devils’ need for such a player as Fernandes, we must take a look at their recent history: the post Sir Alex Ferguson era. While the Scott was in charge at Old Trafford, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes were among the many first-class creative midfielders to play for United. But since Fergie’s retirement in 2013, United have not looked the same in the middle of the park.
Granted, Carrick and Scholes were still at the club, but their primes had passed, and a new generation of world-class midfielders was needed at the Theatre of Dreams.
Despite the deep pockets and incredible history of Manchester United, they largely failed to make any notable creative additions.
Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were, before the arrival of Bruno, arguably the most successful signings United made in an attempt to bolster their midfield. Mata had been incredible for Chelsea while there, and his form didn’t slow at United. The Spaniard has always played well when called upon, and is one of the very few positives to come out of David Moyes’ reign in Manchester. Herrera was another great addition to the Red Devils’ central midfield. Also from Spain, he exuded class, and will always be fondly remembered by United fans for, among other things, marking former Chelsea danger man Eden Hazard to perfection. His contract ran out last summer and, instead of penning a new deal in the North of England, Herrera opted for a new challenge at Paris Saint Germain.
And lest we forget the record breaking arrival of Paul Pogba. He returned to his boyhood club back in 2016, but has since struggled with many aspects of life in Manchester, from disagreements with the manager to injuries, and poor form as well.
While all three of these midfielders are great players in their own right, they failed to have a profound impact on the squad. None of them offered a world-class influence on his teammates to launch United back to European glory. And with Herrera gone, Mata aging and Pogba injured, the beginning of this season saw a bleak midfield for the Red Devils.
Rough Start to 2019/20 for Manchester United
The start of this campaign watched as injuries ran rampant on Manchester United’s midfield. Not only was Pogba sidelined, so too was Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, both vital physical presences in the middle of the park for the Red Devils. Fred, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard were relied upon to form a central triangle for United, but with Lingard in horrendous form, and fellow Brazilians Fred and Pereira creating a disastrous partnership in the middle, something had to change.
The return of Nemanja Matic brought with it a huge step in the right direction. Fred looked a new player, and with Matic adding both experience and strength, United’s central midfield started to dominate in matches. However, Pogba remained injured, and the question of creativity was still unanswered for United.
Step in, Bruno Fernandes.
Incredible Individual Skill and Quality
After intense rumours for much of January, United finally clinched the signing of Fernandes late in the month. His arrival came with the promise of more creativity, and he has more than delivered.
Bruno’s individual skill has been superb, with three goals and four assists already to his name.
Among his many talents, Fernandes has magnificent vision, and the passing ability to match it, executing incredible through balls. He has already showcased this countless times, but one specific instance which immediately springs to mind would be his assist to Anthony Martial’s goal against Manchester City, a goal which opened the scoring in the Red Devils’ 2-0 beating of their arch rivals. With United’s distinct lack of threat from set pieces this season, a free kick not within conventional shooting distance may not have seemed much of a problem. But, with Bruno Fernandes possessing incredible instinct and ability, he chipped it over the defense, linking up with Martial who smashed it past City keeper Ederson at his near post. This goal, like many others United have recently scored, came because of Fernandes’ incredible skill and flair, but he brings more to the table than just individual brilliance.
Bruno Fernandes Offers More Than Just His Individual Class
Bruno Fernandes has had a fantastic impact on his teammates around him and the form in which they are.
For example, Luke Shaw was in a slump when the 25-year-old arrived. The Englishman had looked uncomfortable all campaign despite having won United’s Sir Matt Busby player of the season award in 2018/19. Regardless, he returned at the beginning of the season looking poor, and when his injury in late 2019 gave youngster Brandon Williams a chance to shine, there were serious calls to sell the former Southampton player. Throughout December and January, Shaw continued to be underwhelming, but with the signing of Fernandes came a drastic change for the better in his form. With a newfound ability to play on the left of central defense, as well as his natural left back position, Shaw’s vast improvement, as well as the incredible rise of Brandon Williams and fantastic signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has all but confirmed that the Red Devils will not need a new full back for some time.
Fernandes’ impact does not stop there, with Anthony Martial just one of many players to have improved since he arrived. And the players now seem to enjoy themselves when out on the pitch. After all, not losing since the Portuguese’s debut certainly gives the squad something to smile about.
Could Help Keep Pogba
Finally, Fernandes may be a decisive factor in United’s bid to keep Paul Pogba, with rumours of a potential Old Trafford exit seemingly never ending.
Fernandes is a world-class individual, and playing with magnificent players is a big draw for someone of Pogba’s standard. When football returns later this month, we will have our first opportunity to whiteness Pogba and Bruno playing alongside each other, and along with the promising nature of United’s squad, the Red Devils may now have enough to convince the Frenchman to stay.
Bruno Fernandes Has Been an Impeccable Signing
Overall, Bruno Fernandes is, arguably, the most successful transfer Manchester United have made since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. He is a world-class player in his own right, but when factoring in his impact on the rest of the squad, he has so far proven a magnificent signing.