Manchester United are expected to complete the signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes in the January transfer window. Multiple sources report that the deal is close to being completed, with United likely to pay Sporting Lisbon a figure close to £60 million. According to reports, the announcement is imminent and Bruno Fernandes is likely to be a Red Devil in the coming days.
Creativity. Bruno Fernandes' versatility and creative vision is one of the key reasons why he's Manchester United's primary target in the January transfer window. For a United side that struggles against Premier League teams who prefer defending deep, Bruno Fernandes adds the element of surprise and a promise of a final ball which most Manchester United midfielders have failed to do so far this campaign. The timing of the transfer is also crucial considering Manchester United have some tough fixtures ahead which include games against bogey team Wolves, league leaders Liverpool and a Manchester derby with rivals Manchester City. Bruno Fernandes adds a man to the already thin midfield of United, which lost Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay to injuries. Considering that Bruno Fernandes does move to the Premier League, he will slot in the starting line-up while Scott and Pogba nurse their injuries. What happens when United have fit midfield with no injuries? Does Bruno Fernandes make the XI? If he does, what does the future hold for Andreas Periera and Juan Mata?
In a scenario where Bruno Fernandes is a Manchester United player along with Paul Pogba, the duo is likely to be the automatic choice in the playing XI. Paul Pogba is expected to play in his preferred No.8 role, While the Sporting Lisbon player will slot in at No.10. Both Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata, who recently did well against Norwich, are expected to play a supporting role from the bench. While that might be harsh considering Pereira's recent performances, Fernandes' ability and his potential ceiling is far higher than that of Andreas and the Brazilian will most likely feature only if the Sporting Lisbon player has trouble settling in the Premier League. Juan Mata is a player past his prime and would face stiff competition from the younger players in the squad.
Considering the Paul Pogba -Bruno Fernandes axis as a possibility, there's the only slot left in the midfield which is to be contested by three players; Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay. Matic's contract expires in the summer and despite his recent performances, the Serbian is likely to leave Old Trafford. If Matic does extend his stay with the club, he’s expected to play as backup and would be used on a rotational basis. Choosing one among Fred and McTominay is difficult considering their performances for Manchester United since their 3-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last season. Both midfielders have been a dominant presence in the midfield for United and their lack of creative influence is why one of them has to miss out. Fred has been a constant pillar in the Manchester United midfield and is slowly showing the Old Trafford faithful why the club showered £50 million on him. The Brazilian is likely to be the third midfielder and is likely to be the one who shields the defence as Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are likely to play toe-to-toe with the wingers.
A Fred-Pogba-Bruno midfield offers the defensive stability as well as the attacking support the Manchester United attack needs. With Andreas Periera, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic to add depth along with the likes of academy graduates James Garner and Dylan Levitt, the United midfield looks deep and gives them a chance to compete for Top 4 in the Premier League. The United attack has been potent this season and some service from the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the midfield would help harness some consistency at Old Trafford.