Former Manchester United Manager Was Keen on Adding Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur Made an Offer One Year Before Fernandes Joined United
Fernandes completed a £56.70 million move to Manchester in January 2020 on a five-and-a-half year deal. The midfielder had become one of the most sought-after targets across Europe for the quality he was showing at Sporting CP and almost agreed a deal with United’s top-six rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, before he settled in the North West.
Tottenham made an offer for Fernandes in August 2019, but failed to meet the valuation set by Sporting. At the time, Fernandes was keen on a move to England, he said: “Obviously I wanted to go to the Premier League. The manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was the one who wanted me there. It was a good offer but Sporting tried their best to keep me.”
Solskjaer Was Pivotal in Convincing Fernandes to Sign
Six months later, Solskjaer had decided to take the trip to Portugal to watch Sporting play against rivals Porto. Despite losing the game 2-1, Solskjaer told Fernandes he had been “impressed by the personality he had shown on the pitch.” The Portugal international’s performance all but sealed in Solskjaer’s mind he had to secure the deal that transfer window.
Fernandes detailed the conversation held with his agent during the winter, saying: “At the beginning of January, my agent said, ‘You don’t need to worry, because any time I bring you a club, it will be a dream club for you’.
“He knew that my dream club was Manchester United. Ole was a big part of that because he actually went to see my games.”
🗣 – Bruno Fernandes: “On my first day [at #mufc], he [Solskjær] said to me, ‘Just be yourself’. He said, ‘I know what you are capable of with the ball but I also want you to be the leader you have been at Sporting’.” [@TheAthleticUK] pic.twitter.com/Ml2rUoA6YP
— UtdXclusive (@UtdXclusive) September 20, 2022
The former United manager told his new signing: “Just be yourself. I know what you are capable of with the ball but I also want you to be the leader you have been at Sporting.”
Fernandes Provided Instant Impact for Out-Of-Form United Side
After the 28-year-old completed his dream transfer he soon became the perfect signing for United fans. He has been awarded the prestigious Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year twice since his arrival, initially for the 2019/2020 campaign after making an instant impact in his first five months and again the following season. Throughout his first full season in red, Fernandes hit remarkable numbers for an attacking midfielder; 28 goals scored and 17 assists in 45 games across all competitions.
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He finished the 2021/2022 season a Europa League runner-up and held the record of most assists in that UEFA Champions League campaign. Fernandes was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, Europa League Squad of the Season and picked up United’s Goal of the Season award for his impressive strike against Everton. The year was one of Fernandes’ most accomplished of his career.
The Midfielder Regularly Dons the Captain’s Armband
Fernandes has shown his ability to be a leader countless times on the pitch, regardless of whether or not he’s wearing the captain’s armband. He is a vocal and authoritative figure and is regularly heard in games shouting to his teammates or the match officials. Something that the former Manchester United Manager noticed.
As of late, he has taken the responsibility of club captain when Harry Maguire isn’t playing and has done a stellar job at rallying the squad in matches to see out difficult games, like the 2-1 win against rivals Liverpool or 3-1 victory against Arsenal, for example.
For his national team, Fernandes has played a key role in recent seasons. Portugal lifted the Nations League trophy in 2019 and will be looking to reach new heights in November 2022 at the Qatar World Cup – with Fernandes likely to play the majority of the tournament along with club teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Dalot.
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