The signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January by Manchester United has proved to be an instrumental one in helping them qualify for next year’s UEFA Champions League. Despite the semi-final loss to Sevilla in the Europa League this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United finished 3rd in the Premier League and will be optimistic for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The manager’s decision to field the same XI in majority of games eventually forced them to drop points at home to Southampton and West Ham and their lack of depth and poor team selection was key to getting knocked out in the FA Cup semi-final vs Chelsea.
With other big clubs making signings already in the transfer window, the onus is on United to bolster their ranks after showing their inefficiency from players coming off the bench.
Bruno Fernandes’ Statistics
“We have to admit that he’s come in and been a massive influence. A massive impact. He’s been fantastic, scoring goals, creating goals, but also his enthusiasm and mentality around the place has helped”
-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
In the 2019/20 season:
As a personality, Fernandes is charming yet outspoken. He seems to possess the Manchester United DNA, just what United needs just as much as a new creator. One of the key reasons he was signed was because of his leadership skills, and that looks to be paying off instantly.
Louis van Gaal: "If you are at #mufc, you have to think big. He [Neymar] was also interesting for the club in terms of selling shirts, and I wanted to have quick wingers. For that reason, I also tried to get Sadio Mané and Riyad Mahrez." #mulive [fourfourtwo]
— utdreport (@utdreport) August 24, 2020
The lack of squad depth was evident in the final games of the season and despite Fernandes’ addition that transformed their season, they will have to make quality signings if they have to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. Chelsea, who finished 4th, below United on goal difference, have already been heavily active in the transfer market. Frank Lampard has already signed the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and are close to sealing deals for Kai Havertz and free-agent Thiago Silva.
Solskjaer’s slight over-reliance on his front 6 could cause increased fatigue and increase the risk of injuries, so management of key players like Bruno Fernandes will be crucial next season. A productive summer in the transfer market could be just what United needs to build a successful squad leading them back to their glory days once again.