Why Manchester United Need a Bruno Fernandes

Bruno

You always have to take any transfer story involving Manchester United with a pinch of salt. The Red Devils are constantly linked with various players, with many different news outlets exploiting the club’s name and profile to generate interest in their own stories. That’s been the case for the past decade now, with such speculation only escalating alongside the growth of social media and online journalism.

That isn’t to say that every story is false though, with the latest story linking a player to United looking to hold some serious ground. Bruno Fernandes is reportedly close to completing his move to the Manchester club, with the two parties seemingly edging closer to completing the transfer.

On paper, the deal looks to make complete sense for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Creativity in the middle needed

There has been a common trend within United’s play this season, with the team often finding success against the ‘bigger’ sides, but not against those in the bottom half of the table. In fact, three of their nine Premier League wins have come against those currently inside the top four, with the Red Devils holding notable victories over the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester.

Such success has primarily stemmed from their gameplay of counter-attacking football, with Solskjaer putting emphasis on the frontmen making runs in-behind, exploiting the space behind their opposition’s full-backs. This plan has looked effective against sides that like to open up and commit men forward, but not against those that like to sit back and deploy a deep block.

When United are in possession, there looks to be a lack of ideas and creativity whilst on the ball, with the team struggling to break down stubborn looking opponents. Solskjaer likes his central midfielders to sit deep, with their distributional duties being focused on releasing the frontmen with their runs in-behind. All is well when playing against open-looking sides, but against teams that keep their full-backs in line with a rigid defence, the Red Devils simply look lost at times.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay currently injured, United’s options in the middle look very depleted, hence the reason why so many of the club’s fans are welcoming the potential arrival of Fernandes. Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata have contributed to just six league goals between them this season, so an upgrade in the middle is certainly required.

Fernandes the perfect fit?

Operating on the right-side of a midfield three, Fernandes is one of Sporting Lisbon’s most creative figures. With fifteen goals and thirteen assists so far this season, the stats on paper clearly back up this point. The Portuguese playmaker is given a license to drift inside and be protected by his two midfield partners, allowing him to pull the strings and flourish in the final third.

Such a style of play is where United will mainly benefit should Fernandes arrive, as the Red Devils are currently lacking an effective no.10. The lack of linkup play between the deep midfielders to the frontline is where the team are struggling in possession, as none of their players pick up the ball inside the pockets, in-behind the opposition’s midfield.

The arrival of Fernandes would help aid this issue, as the Portuguese international would occupy such a role. He has the potential to provide that bit of spark that United’s midfield is currently lacking and help transform their attacking plan with his presence in the midfield.

Latest odds and reports

As per reports this morning, the main stumbling block between the two clubs is the transfer fee. Sky Sports have stated that both United and Sporting’s valuation are a ‘long way’ apart, so the deal looks like it’s going to be a prolonged one.

According to the Telegraph, the player has informed Sporting that he wants to leave the club this month though, with super-agent Jorge Mendes now getting involved. If true, this is potentially good news for United, as it would represent a step forward in concluding the deal.

Due to the bombardment of reports, the betting odds are heavily favouring Fernandes to join United this month. He started January at 3/1 to arrive at Old Trafford, before being quickly backed into evens by the 10th.

When speculation started to stick, punters clearly became confident that the deal would materialise, as SkyBet’s price dropped to 1/3. Now, at 1/10, we expect these odds to remain significantly short for the remainder of the month.

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