How Would Bruno Fernandes Fit at Manchester United?

Bruno Fernandes has been heavily linked with
Manchester United and a deal may well be done this transfer window. While it could be argued that Fernandes is
not going to fill some of the more pressing needs in the Manchester United squad, he’s
a talented attacking midfielder who last season scored 20 goals for Sporting Clube de Portugal,
the second highest in the league, as well as registering 13 assist, again the second
most. This season he has eight league goals, four
of which have come from the penalty spot, and seven assists from 15 appearances already. Fernandes is the dominant force in Sporting’s
side, the player through whom most things go. Indeed, for all players in the Portuguese
Primeira who’ve played over 700 minutes this season, not just Sporting players, Fernandes
is 10th for expected goals per 90 (0.41), seventh for expected assists per 90 (0.27),
first for smart passes, or passes that open up attacking opportunities for their team
(3.39 per 90), fourth for passes into the final third (10.83 per 90) and first for deep
completed passes (3.14 per 90). There is an argument about so-called ‘stat-padding’
in the Portguese top flight, that a player like Fernandes can dominate because the league
is weaker overall – there is some truth to this, but Portugal is the best rated league
outside the top five in Europe by club ELO rankings, and Sporting equate to a mid-to-lower
half Premier League side by the same measure []. Sporting have used a variety of systems this
season, but generally prefer a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 – these see Bruno Fernandes deployed
either as a 10 playing behind a striker, generally the Brazilian Luis Phellype, or as a flanking
central midfielder in a three anchored by Idrissa Doumbia. Fernandes’ movement is smart. He’s adept
as fashioning shooting chances through the timing of his runs. He likes to loiter in
the space between the defence and midfield line, and then either burst past the defensive
line if they’re relatively static, for example if they’re expecting a floated ball in to
a tall striker, or receive the ball in space in front of the defensive line and shoot from
distance. He also likes to drift into the right half
space, scoring from here this season against LASK of Austria and Rosenborg of Norway, attacking
the channel and isolating the centre back on that side; he can use his technical control
to cut back inside, as against Rosenborg, or just beat the goalkeeper low and with power
as against LASK. The key is finding the space and attacking it, and he excels at this. A number of his assists come from this area
too. Especially if Sporting break at pace, Fernandes will target the channel and look
to cross to those running into the box, but he’s also capable of standing a player up
and crossing well from a standing position, with curl on the ball swinging from right
to left. As a corner taker, this is useful too, and his set-piece delivery can be impressive,
but it also means if he’s on the left side, runs towards the back post can be very dangerous. Fernandes is capable of picking a pass from
deep too, and he will sometimes drop quite deep for Sporting and then launch longer balls
forwards towards the front line to run in behind for. From a more advanced position,
he’s more likely to drop into space away from the defensive line and then spread the
ball wide to an overlapping full-back. His range of passing is impressive, though, and
he generally has the technical ability to execute. He’s also good at switching the angle of
attacks, driving infield then releasing a pass into the space created by his own run
– the key thing is for him to find space in the first instance so he’s able to have
the time to pick a long pass, an angle-changing pass, or to shoot. So how would he work for Manchester United?
Bruno Fernandes plays best in the pockets of space between the lines, with the time
and space to use his technical ability and creativity. He could work as a deeper playmaker
but might struggle defensively as part of a double pivot in a more physical league,
and it seems likely United are attracted by his attacking ability in the 10 role rather
than his deeper passing. The key is to provide him with runners outside,
so he can slide passes through and then make the dangerous late runs that can bring him
goals. United must also not crowd the space in behind
the striker. This can be a danger if teams play with inverted wingers – everyone ends
up being clustered in the same areas. United should look to stretch the width as they attack,
but then have runners darting inside as a passing option, which will also drag the defence
back and give Fernandes more of an opportunity to shoot. Fernandes will also need to build a rapport
with his striker – their movement is key to creating space for him around the edge
of the box. At Sporting, he is/was the key man, and play was built around him – that
won’t be the case at United, and his ability to function well within a unit, rather than
to be its focus, will be hugely important. He’s a good technical footballer who can
bring a lot to the Premier League, but United will need to adapt to bring the best out of
him, and so will he.


  1. Smart passes?
    That's why there's a delay.
    Ed Woodward is trying to have a transmitter installed in Fernandes so he gets free internet.

  2. Just imagine if we had Fernando Torres and Wayne Rooney and still have kept Cristiano Ronaldo with Ryan Giggs on the wing as well and a complete midfield with Paul Scholes Michael Carrick Darren Fletcher

    Plus you've got Gerard Pique who we should have kept and Nemanja Vidic use Rio Ferdinand as a right back and Patrice Evra as your the left back

    We should have signed the German goalkeeper Superstar manual Neuer. Now that in itself in 2009 would have kept United winning trophies for decades and may be potentially a few Champions Leagues title wins

  3. this club probably will be long shot merchant if bruno decide to join United.
    Imagine Rashford, Fred, Andreas, Bruno, Rojo, Lingard, James spamming long shot every game.

  4. Honestly wouldn't even be surprised if we didn't sign Bruno now. Woodward and the rest of the board are completely useless at signing players.

  5. With a win against Burnley today we're 3 pts away from the top 4. With Bruno, Pogba and Mctominay with us hopefully in the latter part of the season.. We could really hit top gear.. Who knows we could even go on an FA cup run.. Not bad for a manager that gets criticised a lot. Ole is doing a decent job. Oh I almost forgot, Great job Tifo on the video. You're my Go-to YouTube Channel ❤️

  6. A sincere request on where do you get your stats from- XG per 90 / XA per 90 / Smart passes per 90 / passess to final 3rd and so on and so forth…

  7. Just need another cm so we don’t ever have to watch a midfield of Fred and Mctominay chasing their first touch and failing to play a pass further than 5 yards all game

  8. He should be making his debut tomorrow but as usual United can't agree a fee without ages of long drawn out negotiation

  9. Manchester United need to sign Bruno if they want to make top four or win any silver wear this season. Creativity in the Number 10 role has been lacking, as Mata can only play 70 mins against lesser opposition and Pogba has been injured and wants to leave the club.

  10. Off topic but check out my soundcloud @Ty Jeffers and stream my album pls, other than that great quality as usual tifo!

  11. Is Ed Woodward really the best CEO for the Glazers? Surely they must be beginning to wonder whether a change could help the club

  12. Not trying to exaggerate or what but if Bruno play against liverpool, we might win that match. Andreas have a lot of space between the line and somehow still play like a fucking shit. He could have a few assists and goals in that game giving the time and space that he got to create something, ultimately in the first half, but he done shit

  13. I could tell this is a recent video because you've left Rashford out of the team. I think his injury means he is out for a long time. United really need Bruno now.

  14. Could you make a video of real madrids Brazilian youngsters? I am here thinking about rodrygo goes, vinicius and Reinier

  15. This video is worth watching IF UNITED SIGNS BRUNO.. Else a good imagination having him in our squad and wondering "should have, could have"

  16. This soap opera has just messed up with Bruno. He has been very disapointed since he was hoping to play in the Premier League. Leave him alone already. Mag Utd is a talents graveyard

  17. If I were Woodward, I would throw in Lingard as an exchange player to Sporting as a part of this deal to reduce the transfer fee. Like for like player swap. Good for Sporting too.

  18. Noooooooo
    Bruno is the best player I’ve seen in sporting (of course there is Ronaldo but he was very young). He is so smart, shoots well, always defending. If felix is 120m then Bruno is at least 80-90.

  19. I knew about this guy since he was a teenager, hes the answer to man united, united fools look we are, some guy 25 years old or something playing atill in portugal, wake, up…

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