On January 29, 2020, Manchester United confirmed they had reached an agreement with Sporting Lisbon for the transfer of Portuguese player Bruno Fernandes for a fee reportedly worth up to €80 million (£67.6 million), subject to the player passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.
Bruno Fernandes is something special ✨ pic.twitter.com/5qSPHOoXq3
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 4, 2020
The deal was completed the following day.
Fernandes signed a five-and-a-half-year contract.
The scouts of Manchester United had been tracking this Portuguese talent for a while now.
He had a good out with Udinese in Italian Serie A, which paved the way for a move to Sampdoria in 2016. The following year, Fernandes joined Sporting CP, and thee experiences at Udinese and Sampdoria developed him into a much better product.
Fernandes’ first appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage was on 12 September 2017, where he put the visitors 3–0 ahead in the 43rd minute of an eventual 3–2 win at Olympiacos FC. He finished his first season with 16 goals across all competitions, second only to Bas Dost.
On May 15, 2018, Fernandes and several of his teammates, including coaches, were injured following an attack by around 50 Sporting supporters at the club’s training ground after the team finished third in the league and missed out on Champions League qualification.
6 goals and 5 assists in 9 Premier League appearances for Bruno Fernandes. Mesmeric return for someone who joined in January.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) July 4, 2020
Despite the events, the team agreed to play in the final of the Taça de Portugal scheduled for the following weekend, eventually losing to C.D. Aves.
Fernandes was named the Primeira Liga Player of the Year on 6 July 2018.
⭐ Bruno Fernandes in PL for Man Utd:
❌ v Wolves (H)
?️ v Chelsea (A)
⚽?️ v Watford (H)
⚽ v Everton (A)
?️ v Man City (H)
⚽ v Tottenham (A)
❌ v Sheff Utd (H)
⚽⚽ v Brighton (A)
⚽?️?️ v Bournemouth (H)
? 9 apps, 6 goals, 5 assists pic.twitter.com/OjaP76ckh1
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) July 4, 2020
Four days later he signed a new five-year contract with a €100 million release clause, having turned back on his original decision to leave the Estádio José Alvalade following the departure of club president Bruno de Carvalho, and being given an improved salary in the process.
Fernandes scored his 23rd competitive goal of the 2018–19 campaign during a 3–1 home win against Portimonense S.C. on 3 March 2019, through a late penalty, surpassing António Oliveira’s club record for goals by a midfielder in a season, set in 1981–82.
Bruno Fernandes & Paul Pogba combine for 0.9 assists per game — the most of any duo in the Premier League & tied for the most in Europe's top 5 leagues.#mufc's midfield maestros. ✨ pic.twitter.com/CX7qCzW7XK
— ً (@utdrobbo) July 5, 2020
On May 2, 2019, he scored a hat-trick in an 8–1 away rout of Belenenses SAD, in the process becoming the highest-scoring Portuguese midfielder in a single season of all time, with 31 goals to his name. He scored his 33rd and final goal of the season on May 25, 2019, during Sporting’s victory against FC Porto in the Taca de Portugal final.
He was named Primeira Liga Player of the Year for the second successive year for his performances in the 2018–19 season.
He scored seven goals in his first 10 appearances of the 2019–20 season, including a run of scoring in six consecutive appearances.
Now it was time to move to somewhere else, and no place could better than Old Trafford for a Sporting CP player.
This lad Bruno Fernandes is versatile!
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) July 5, 2020
Who could forget Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Old Trafford in the early 2000s and his rise to the top under Sir Alex Ferguson?
It had been a legendary tale and Sporting CP seems not to disappoint Old Trafford still today.
Fernandes made his debut on February 1, 2020, playing the full 90 minutes of a goalless draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In Manchester United’s 2–0 away win over Chelsea on February 17, 2020, he provided an assist for the second goal, a header from Harry Maguire.
Fernandes came on as a late substitute for Manchester United against Club Brugge in a 1–1 draw on his European debut for the club.
Bruno Fernandes has reached 10 goal involvements in his 9th #PL appearance for @ManUtd, the joint-quickest of any player for the club alongside Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie pic.twitter.com/m1rlhUcb6B
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 4, 2020
He scored his first goal for Manchester United against Watford on 23 February, converting from the penalty spot in an eventual 3–0 victory at Old Trafford, a match in which he also provided an assist for the third goal scored by Mason Greenwood.
His first European goal for the club came in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Club Brugge at Old Trafford, in which he scored a penalty, helping them to a 5–0 victory.
At the end of the month, Fernandes was voted as Manchester United’s player of the month. On March 16, 2020, Fernandes was voted as the Premier League Player of the Month for February.
On June 30, 2020, Fernandes scored his first brace for the club in 3–0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, and on Saturday, he was on the score-sheet yet again, in the 5-2 thrashing against Bournemouth.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 4, 2020
Bruno Fernandes has been named Manchester United’s player of the month for the third time in a row and he deserves it fully.
Since he arrived in Old Trafford, experts and fans have been impressed with him and back in Europe, the media does not talk about a player until and unless a player has the talent and class other than on the basis of personal relationships like Bangladesh Sports Journalism fraternity.
One needs to earn it out there and Fernandes has earned it and why not? He has mobilized the stagnant midfield of Manchester United.
His presence in the team helped Anthony Martial score United’s first Premier League hat-trick since 2013 during the 3-0 win over Sheffield United last week.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quick to highlight the connection between Fernandes and Martial ahead of the restart last month.
Mason Greenwood ⚽⚽
Marcus Rashford ⚽
Anthony Martial ⚽
Bruno Fernandes ⚽
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2020
His presence has made the Manchester United frontline versatile. Fernandes rolls the ball into the spaces and breaks the passing lanes, while the players upfront coordinates accordingly. The link-up, which was missing for a long time, Fernandes has injected that.
Former England and Manchester United legend described the impact of Fernandes in a better way:
“It’s the risks he takes on a football pitch and he’s someone you don’t mind doing that because his intentions are there.”
Bruno Fernandes has become the joint-quickest Man Utd player to bring up 10 goal involvements in the Premier League ⚡
His company: Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie ? pic.twitter.com/sFwYq9Fs3u
— Goal (@goal) July 5, 2020
“When the ball comes to him, a lot of midfielders nine times out of 10 play it back or out wide, but he identifies there’s a danger area, space for him to live and breathe and for players to attack once he gets on the ball. And these players are starting to get on the same wavelength as him when he gets the ball”.
“All great players before the ball comes to them are having a look, assessing the areas around him”.
“He wants to exploit the areas, playing in with one pass. The intention is there to hurt the opposition”.
Hardly anyone could put a finger on the explanation of Rio Ferdinand.
The impact of Fernandes has been huge.
He is hinting of a great journey in Old Trafford and Portugal.