By 90Min
July 02, 2019

After Manchester United completed their first big-money signing of the summer, grabbing Crystal Palace ace Aaron Wan-Bissaka in a deal worth £50m, they can now turn their attention towards landing their next recruit - and it simply must be Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes.

leaked email sent by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to the Manchester United staff just prior to the unveiling of Wan-Bissaka suggested that the club are looking to push forward and complete more 'exciting' signings. 

Well, if the club are looking to make exciting signings then there aren't many more exciting than Fernandes. 

The Portuguese star notched up a remarkable 32 goals and 18 assists last season and continued this form into the inaugural Nations League, where Portugal lifted the trophy. The 24-year-old has been the star man for Sporting CP, guiding them to a third-placed finish in the Primeira Liga last season. 


Fernandes has three key attributes that can propel the Red Devils back to the top, however they must act fast.


Can Provide Much-Needed Creative Flair 

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There is no denying the lack of creativity in Manchester United's midfield last season. Ander Herrera will leave for free after his contract expires and while he was not a constant goal provider, at least he had the willingness to get forward and pose a threat.

Paul Pogba was given a new lease of life when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the wheel but he has tendencies to blow hot and cold throughout a season. The Frenchman netted 13 goals and provided nine assists in the league last season and he has been the main creator - usually operating from the left of a midfield three. However, the Red Devils lack an attacking midfielder that can provide a key pass consistently. 

Jesse Lingard has been the main man tasked with this role but his measly two assists this season speaks volumes. Others include Juan Mata, but his two assists in the league are just another example of the lack of creativity the club has in that department. 

Rumours surrounding Pogba's potential exit only seem to be gathering momentum and this makes the signing of Fernandes even more critical. A high quality signing such as Fernandes may well be enough to persuade the Frenchman to resist the temptation to leave, and even if he does end up leaving this summer, Fernandes would be the man to fill Pogba's shoes. 


Has All the Qualities to Become United's Next Leader

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Manchester United have announced that club captain Antonio Valencia will be leaving the club when his contract expires. Last season however, Ashley Young was captain for the majority of the season due to Valencia's recurring injury issues.

It was clear for all to see that in the tougher moments, United lacked a leader to rally the team and compose them. When the Red Devils faced Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final last season, United's captain lost the ball 32 times and failed to find a target in 11 crossing attempts. 

This just goes to show the levels of capitulation that Manchester United have shown in more recent times. However, Sporting CP's captain would bring more leadership and composure to a team that is desperately crying out for it. His work rate compiled with his leadership skills also make him an ideal player to have in a youthful United setup. 


Makes the Players Around Him Better

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There have been question marks surrounding many players' form at Old Trafford, but the signing of Fernandes would go a long way to helping many of the attackers see better days.

Players such as Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku all dipped in form throughout the season. If the Portuguese star can provide the forwards with the kind of chances that he has been creating at will over the past season, then the Red Devils have a formidable attack on their hands.

Sanchez has shown an uptick in form in the Copa America with Chile, and part of the reason is because he has players such as Charles Aránguiz in the national team, who has supplied Sanchez with both of the goals he has scored so far. Fernandes would most likely operate a similar role at United and although it is a long shot, he may just be the man to help the Chilean rediscover his form.

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