Manchester United announced on 29/01/2020 that they’d agreed a deal with much-coveted attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
The Portuguese star has been in excellent goal-scoring form since the start of last season, being directly involved in around 0.7 goals per game across all competitions this season. Man Utd’s midfield has struggled in the absence of both Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba and so securing the 25 year-old’s signature will be a huge boost for Manchester United.
In terms of the kind of profile he is, the former Udinese man operated in a 4-3-3 in central midfield, where he was given licence to roam. He could drop deep to help progress the ball or he could move forward, operating in the final third from the hole or even surging into the box. This free role seemed to get the best out of Bruno as he not only set the record for the most goals scored from midfield in a single season (32) but he was directly involved in 50 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions, a frighteningly good record which makes it easy to see why so many of the world’s top clubs – including Barcelona and Man Utd – were chasing the player.
In 2019/2020, however, he has played in various systems including 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and a 4-4-2 diamond. What’s exciting is that Solskjaer has toyed with all of these systems during his tenure as United boss and so should have no issues finding a role for his new player. When he plays in his more frequent number ten role, Bruno Fernandes looks to operate between the lines, picking up the ball in space and either looking to slip in an early through ball for the wingers or playing one twos to create space so he can receive and look for that early through ball again.These early through balls will unleash both wingers but Dan James will benefit the most. He’s always looking to make that run anyway but Bruno’s preference for this pass will see the Welshman getting in behind to race away and cross even more than he already does!
The same could arguably be said for Marcus Rashford. Man Utd’s frontline as a whole will definitely see the benefit of playing with Bruno as he’s not only a volume shooter but also a very smart creator and somebody that can really dictate things in the final third and implement a real identity in possession. Regardless of system however, Bruno Fernandes will add a real indirect set piece threat to the side. When delivering from corners and free kicks, Fernandes puts real top spin on the ball which not only means they’re delivered at pace but the loop takes out the goalkeeper when crossing to the back post.You could easily see him finding Harry Maguire with a couple of those and helping the MUFC skipper kick on from his first goal.
What we do know for sure is that Bruno Fernandes is a creative force and has all the potential to become one of the world’s finest playmakers at Manchester United. Hopefully he can make a quick start and help fire Man Utd to a Europa League trophy and a top four finish.
Is Bruno Fernandes the man to rescue Man Utd’s season?