Bruno Fernandes’ move to Manchester United seems to be edging closer with every passing day. The Portuguese is keen on a switch to Old Trafford, with talks seemingly ongoing to finalise the fee for the midfielder. As much as the 25-year-old would present a signing that can solve the club’s issues, there is still a gamble in it – but leading online bookmaker betoclock.com expect the deal to go ahead in January, hence the odds they are offering.
Perhaps, no signing at any clubs comes without being a gamble. It can be a major one or a minor one. In Fernandes’ case, it is neither. It is about how to get the most out of a supremely talented footballer. United need to do that, as they look to solve their creativity issues this season.
United have been struggling to breakdown low-blocks this season. That has let them down massively, as their number ten options aren’t exactly bearing too much fruit. Jesse Lingard is yet to contribute to a single goal, while Andreas Pereira has one goal and three assists to his name.
That position lacks dynamism, leading to draws against Sheffield United, Everton and Aston Villa. They’ve lost to Newcastle, West Ham, Watford and Bournemouth. All these teams don’t exactly play an attacking brand of football, as United struggle to carve them apart.
In that sense, Bruno does bring what United need. He has contributed to 14 goals and ten assists in all competitions for Sporting this season. In the Liga Nos, Fernandes has completed 1.7 dribbles per game, playing 3.7 key passes per game.
Last season, Fernandes was involved in 33 goals in just as many games in the league for Sporting. He had a tally of 3.2 key passes per game, completing only 0.9 dribbles per game too. As much as Bruno’s numbers are fantastic, there is something more to see in them.
This season and last season, Bruno has taken 3.6 shots per game. If it were in the Premier League, that shots per game stat would have been the second-best in the division. Mohamed Salah has taken the highest number of shots per game this season- 3.7. For him, that leads to a higher product of ten goals this season.
For Fernandes, he is the captain of the Sporting side for a while now. He is their chief creator and their chief goalscorer. He has become one of the best players in the league and deserves that sort of emphasis. That emphasis allows him the freedom, which in turn helps him enhance his numbers.
The fact that Fernandes has had a passing accuracy of around 75 percent in the last three seasons shows a lot too. He has the freedom to try his hardest and help the team score. This leads to a higher assist ratio and more successful key passes for the Portuguese.
While he is what United need in attacking midfield, he would need an immense amount of freedom to replicate his good numbers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably will know that and can’t fall further in that position than Lingard and Pereira.
But once Paul Pogba comes back, things can mess up. The Frenchman has always needed freedom to thrive on. When he gets the license to roam and move forward, he can win games. Like he did for United in their famous 3-2 win over Manchester City in the 2017-18 season.
Pogba has been used as the deep-lying playmaker in a 4-2-3-1 shape by Solskjaer. This will allow Fernandes to play behind the striker. Keeping in mind that the potential new signing won’t shoot or attempt to pass as much, United fans should keep calm about him producing on a consistent basis. He can be a gamechanger on his day and only needs the right sort of license on him to thrive soon.