A player who has been linked with numerous top clubs throughout this season, the 24 year old Portugese midfielder has been a considerably late bloomer bursting onto the scene with his performances for Sporting & the Portugese national side. Known for his prolific goal scoring out of midfield, Fernandes has scored 31 goals in 50 appearances for the Lisbon side. Fernandes plays mainly higher up the pitch, trying to create chances for himself as well as teammates, however, drops deep when required.
Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho recently said to Eleven Sports “I was surprised by the season of Bruno. It was easy to predict quality. He is a very good player, but scored a very high number of goals for a midfield player. It shows that you need to have instinct and qualities to score and he has it all. He strikes the ball well, heads well, cool when he is one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He finds space in the penalty area. It’s all there.”
Unlike many midfielders who are limited to various roles, Bruno is a significant threat with both his passing and shooting. He averaged 3.1 key passes a game while averaging 3.5 shots per game. He also scored 4 goals from outside of the box and 3 from free kicks. In regard to his assist total, he finished the season with 15 assists.
However, the most important aspects of his game are his ability to see space in the opponent’s defensive line. Bruno looks to receive the ball between the defensive line and make the most of available half-spaces. From there, he will look to find an outlet pass to his wide players or to create something himself with his great ability in tight spaces and agility. Fernandes is extremely adept at positioning himself in the right places and the timing of his runs show that. Whether it’s to run behind the defensive line, slip in behind the defence or to arrive outside the penalty area to shoot. You can guarantee he will make the right choice.
The Portugese is so dangerous because it doesn’t end with just goals, in the 18/19 season he averaged 53.4 passes per game, completing at 75.1%. To add to that, he had 1.8 crosses per game and 4.3 long balls a game. Most recently, we saw Fernandes playing a key role with his national side, helping the Seleção to the Nations League title with his play as a left side midfielder in a 4-3-3, a similar system that Ole Gunnar Solskjær has used at Manchester United.
Overall, Fernandes would be a phenomenal signing for Manchester United as he has all the right qualities and attributes to significantly improve United's midfield. Another factor for why Bruno would be such a vital signing is the fact opposition defences cannot solely focus on Paul Pogba who has largely been United's only creator out of midfield, making it easier for opposition teams to close him down.