April 19, 2021

Man Utd

News

Fernandes words of wisdom hold key to Man United’s problem position

3 min read

Bruno Fernandes often holds the key to Manchester United’s on-field fortunes – but could he now be set to play a similar role in the transfer market?

The 26-year-old Portuguese playmaker has been a revelation at Old Trafford after moving to the club for £47million from Sporting Lisbon.

Indeed, with four Premier League player of the month awards under his belt since January 2020, the United star has also scored 16 goals and laid on 10 assists in the top-flight this season.

His name is, almost certainly, the first pencilled in by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when planning for each match.

However, while the Norwegian manager has plenty of high-quality options across the pitch, one position remains a problem area for United – as attentions turn to the summer transfer window.

Dan James and Mason Greenwood are among those to have been deployed on the right-hand side of a three-man forward line, but neither player has completely cemented that role as United continue to be linked with big-money recruits.

England winger Jadon Sancho is a long-term target from Borussia Dortmund – albeit with complications – and the club were, meanwhile, reported to be on the verge of sealing a deal for Ismaila Sarr (Watford) last summer.

Another player who has been tipped to move is Leeds United star Raphinha.

Elland Road to Old Trafford is a path controversially trodden by United legend Eric Cantona in the past, but do they have genuine hope of luring the Brazilian sensation to the club?

One glimmer of hope in that regard is the relationship he has with current United star Fernandes.

Indeed, the pair played together for a season at Sporting and they are reported to still be in contact after building up a strong understanding both on and off the field.

Speaking about Raphinha in 2019 after his Liga NOS departure the previous year, Fernandes said: “I miss Raphinha.

“He’s a player with whom I had a different chemistry from the others. He understood me at a glance.

“He knew, according to the movement of my body, where I was going to put the ball to him. I miss him because he brought joy to the locker room. He’s also a responsible and hardworking person.”

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A glowing reference indeed for his credentials to make an impact at United.

However, any potential transfer for Raphinha comes with question marks – and not only the fierce rivalry between United and the Whites, who returned to the big time last summer and made him one of their marquee signings.

Raphinha, 24, has three years left to run on his contract at Elland Road, while his return of six goals and six assists in an impressive debut Premier League season has seen his would-be value rocket.

He cost Marcelo Bielsa just £17million last summer, but other potential suitors include Bayern Munich and Liverpool and that is, almost certainly, set to ramp the price up.

Leeds have already sent a firm message about Raphinha’s future amid those transfer rumours, too, but Fernandes is a man who, you would expect, United will go the extra mile to satisfy.

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