The winners and losers of Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United

A true talent

Manchester United are on the verge of signing Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon after what has been a long year of rumours and dreaming for United fans. In truth, the Fernandes saga was beginning to look very Wesley Sneijder-esque, however, the deal is set to be concluded after Sporting Lisbon host Benfica this Friday, according to respected Portuguese journalist Goncalo Lopes.

It is no surprise that Sporting want to keep hold of Fernandes for the Benfica clash, as he remains their most valuable asset and already boasts an almighty 15 goals in 25 games for his club. This sensational record from midfield is matched with his creativity in 13 assists and respectable leadership qualities, as he dons the club's armband.

In truth, there are not many better goalscoring midfielders around Europe right now, considering he also bagged 20 league goals and 13 assists last season and 11 goals and 10 assists in Liga NOS the season prior.

Solskjaer's desperation

Jose Mourinho has made it clear since his departure from United that he was never backed in the market. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been able to construct an expensive wish list, with Fernandes one of the names at the top.

Solskjaer has seen the likes of Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini depart, most likely because he was promised names in return. Now, the United boss is undoubtedly the biggest winner if this transfer goes through.

Indeed, only time will tell if Paul Pogba will leave Old Trafford, but should the Frenchman go, Solskjaer will perhaps have an even better goalscoring name within his midfield. In truth, options have dried up for the United boss in the centre, with the likes of Andreas Pereira and Nemanja Matic having to come in, despite their questionable form.

Although, should Fernandes put pen to paper, the Norwegian will finally have another star name to throw in.

Where does this leave Pogba?

Pogba is the grandest definition of an enigma in football. We constantly talk about the elite midfielder's departure, when in reality, he could well be with United until the end. However, if the Sporting star moves to Manchester, it may well spell the end for Pogba.

In the midfield, the former Juventus man has been looked at for creativity and certainly for goals in an uninspiring midfield. Now, with the addition of Fernandes, Pogba's place within the side could be called in question, should he be pushed back for this goalscoring machine.

Of course, Pogba is one of the best around on his day. Although, looking back on his career, his glory days were as he donned the number 10 shirt for Juventus and joined in with the attacks. Should he be forced to play more defensively alongside the Portugal international, his chances to shine again may well be dealt a big blow.

Fred's rejuvenation cut short?

Solskjaer has not got many things right at United, but certain things like the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the breakthrough of Mason Greenwood have been all but perfect ideas. Although, Fred has been another man who has been entirely restructured under Solskjaer - something Mourinho failed miserably at.

The Brazilian has struggled for much of his time at United, since he signed for £47m in 2018. However, now we are seeing Fred as one of United's main midfield options and as one of the first names of the teamsheet.

At 26 years old, we are finally starting to see what the midfielder can bring to United, with his clever movement and bright footballing brain. However, with Fernandes and Pogba probably guaranteed starters, and with the form of Scott McTominay, Fred could well be back on the bench very soon.

A shame for a man who has only just started to find his feet. But, if United are to continue with their midfield three, it is hard to see Fred start once McTominay and Pogba return alongside Fernandes.

The end for Juan Mata

Juan Mata has been arguably Manchester United's best servant post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Whilst players such as Pogba and Martial have struggled with consistency and the likes of Ibrahimovic only lasted a season, Mata has rarely had a bad game.

Over the last few seasons, the Spaniard's legs have started to slow down, but his creative brilliance - as proven with his two assists against Norwich City last week - remains very respectable. However, if Fernandes joins the club, Mata may find his minutes on the pitch get even lower than they already are, ultimately forcing him out the door.

The former Chelsea man has been an incredible signing for United and he will always be remembered at Old Trafford. But now might be the time for him to move on, should Solskjaer secure Fernandes' signature.

The team can only get better

As mentioned, McTominay has been in magnificent form this season and instrumental to Solskjaer's side. Whilst the likes of Pogba and Fernandes are more attacking players, McTominay will continue to bring solid, unrivalled defensive stability to United's midfield.

With the addition of the Sporting star, Solskjaer may finally be able to craft a versatile and valuable midfield to match his impressive front three.

Plus, as the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood keep scoring, the creative nature of Fernandes will only benefit their goalscoring abilities. Ultimately, the team can only get better.


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