by Aiden Daries
Bruno Fernandes looks like the man Manchester United has been yearning for ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The arrival of the Portuguese star sparked excitement around Old Trafford considering he captained Sporting CP to the Taҫa de Portugal and the Taҫa da Liga trophies last season.
Manchester United won just 2 out of their last 4 games before the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and were looking ever more likely to miss out on the top four and guarantee their spot in next season’s Champions League.
The arrival of Fernandes proved to be a catalyst for the run of form that the Red Devils currently find themselves on; going unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and looking to challenge Chelsea F.C. for that 4th spot.
Fernandes has managed to bag 3 goals and 4 assists to kick-start his life in England and looks to be just the man United were in need of.
The Portuguese international also looks like he has forged a partnership with Frenchman Anthony Martial both on and off the pitch. A recent video has made the rounds of the two embracing each other on the United bench after Scott Mctominay scored a wonder goal against Manchester City to guarantee all 3-points.
Many around the club were impressed with how Fernandes had come in and become a leader in such a short space of time. United left-back Luke Shaw recently stated, “He's been a brilliant signing so far and he's already come in with a few assists and a few important goals”.
The former Sporting Lisbon captain has also looked to revive the form of players around him, with both Fred and Nemanja Matic finding form since the Portuguese star’s arrival.
Many will now be waiting for the comeback of Paul Pogba from injury and the partnership Pogba and Fernandes can form in the heart of United’s midfield. The sight of that would have to be put on hold for the time being, with the Premier League suspended as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
This would also depend on whether the former Juventus player will stay at United beyond this season, with many reports coming out that he is set to sign a new deal in the summer.
Many people hope that Fernandes won’t emulate the time Ángel Di María spent at United. The Argentine star couldn’t begin life better at United with the highlight of his time in Manchester being a goal of the season contender against Leicester City when he cutely dinked the Foxes’ goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, to score his first for the Red Devils.
However, he had an apparent fall out with manager at the time, Louis Van Gaal, and couldn’t regain his form that he started the season off with.
Fernandes will also have big boots to fill, considering the last two Portuguese players that played for the Red Devils were 5-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, and former United winger Nani. The two enjoyed successful periods at United and guided them to the Champions League title in the 2007/08 season after beating rivals Chelsea in Moscow.
Many will be hoping that Fernandes can follow in the footsteps of his former Portuguese compatriots.