|The Portuguese Magnifico has made the Old Trafford stage his own since his arrival in February
Image from Planet Football
Very few players have impacted a team like Bruno Fernandes has impacted Manchester United in the 2019-2020 campaign. This is particularly true when you take into account that Fernandes was a late-January transfer, and has only been with the club for 19 total fixtures, 14 of which coming in the Premier League season.
In recent club history, United has tried to impact its club at the winter transfer deadline with big name stars. Most recently, it pried Alexis Sanchez on a swap deal with Arsenal in 2018. Sanchez entered with fanfare, but left with a whimper in his time with the Red Devils. In his 32 league fixtures at United, Sanchez managed just 3 goals and has been on a loan deal that could be permanent at Inter Milan. United were second in the league and while Sanchez not only did not help United gain ground on City, he damaged both Rashford and Martial’s seasons substantially and neither scored many after Sanchez was signed that season.
Prior to the Sanchez flop, United tried to impact its season with a January transfer of Juan Mata in 2014. United sat in 7th place when Juan Mata arrived at Old Trafford, and although the Spanish international played well, netting 6 goals in his debut campaign with the Devils, United finished its season in 7th place and climbed no higher than sixth in a season which saw David Moyes replaced at the helm by interim manager Ryan Giggs.
However Bruno Fernandes not only impacted the stat sheet, netting 8 goals while adding 7 assists in league play in a United shirt, but also affected the team’s overall success. On his debut in a United shirt against Wolves, United sat in 7th place in the EPL, 6 points behind 4th place Chelsea, and 14 points off third place Leicester.
In the next 13 matches, Fernandes helped to guide United to making up that ground, and to pass Leicester and Chelsea for third place in the league table, and to a position in UEFA Champions League for 2021. His involvement in 15 goals in league play is a main reason for United’s ascension up the table. Although critics like to cite that 6 of the Portugal international’s 10 total goals in all competitions have come from the spot, Fernandes has been instrumental in drawing those penalties, and reliability from the spot is a hallmark of a good footballer. United will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to compete for the title next season but for now, Fernandes and the Red Devils are fixed on the Europa League and are looking to win it for the second time ever.