Bruno Fernandes, 24 years old has become a household name throughout Portugal in the past two seasons as well as one of the first names on the National team line up.
Taking a different approach to the majority of his Portuguese teammates, Fernandes began his senior career at Novara with their B team in the Italian Serie C.
After playing in the B team for just several weeks, Fernandes was promoted to the club’s first team in Italy’s second tier Serie B, and played in just over half of the league games during the 2012/13 season helping his side to a fifth place finish and a spot in the playoffs.
That summer though, Fernandes made the move to Udinese. He was beginning to make ripples in Italy, and the bigger clubs were starting to take notice. Fernandes went on to make 95 appearances for Udinese, scoring ten goals.
Sampdoria came in for Fernandes on loan in 2016 and he was given the number 10 shirt. Twelve days after his arrival the Portugese international made his debut as a late substitute in a 2-1 win over Atalanta. He scored five goals in 35 appereances and helped the club to a tenth place finish in Serie A.
Fernandes was slowly building his experience on the pitch and following the conclusion of his loan spell, he returned to his home country to sign for Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon. He is coming off the back of a magnificent 2018/19 season, scoring 32 goals in all competitions and winning the Portugese Cup, the Taca de Portugal and Portugese League Cup, the Taca de Liga.
How does he play?
Fernandes operates primarily in a central midfield role, but can also be used in an attacking midfield role whilst showing he has a pedigree in front of goal.
The Portuguese is excellent at finding space between the lines and with a record of 38 assists in his two seasons with Sporting, he would use that space effectively to find his teammates and so his teammates can find him, especially when he is running to the edge of the box for a goalscoring opportunity.
Looking back at this seasons stats it is clear to see where he thrives. On average getting 77.5 touches per game it is clear he is the focal point of his team boasting a 75% passing accuracy throughout the whole season and providing 3.1 key passes per game. He is definitely the man that dictates the shape of the game. Also, averaging 3 shots a game he is not shy of taking shot, regardless of how far away from goal he is.
When it comes to set pieces and penalties, Fernandes is the man that shoulders the responsibility for Sporting. Showing his improvement in free kick accuracy as the weeks rolled on through this season, and his trademark stutter run up for a penalty becoming more renowned for making the keeper move before he even takes a shot.
Whilst he is known for his attacking abilities, Fernandes is not afraid to get stuck in. Thanks to whoscored.com we can see that in Liga NOS only Hector Herrera, formerly of Porto, has won possession in the midfield third more times than Bruno Fernandes. His work ethic and tenacity see him chasing the ball down if it is not in his teams possession. A trait that most clubs would love to have in their ranks.
Where does he fit in? Man Utd or Spurs?
From a Man Utd perspective I think it is quite simple where he can fit in since the departure of Ander Herrera. Fernandes could slot perfectly into a midfield trio provided there is a ball winning midfielder lined up with him. Matic or possibly McTominay is a must for Fernandes to play his game.
The signing of Fernandes would also take the onus off of Pogba allowing him to come into his element a lot more. Drifting in and out of channels, Fernandes is the type of player who would be able to pick him out. Not only that but allowing the likes of Rashford and Martial to thrive.
As for Spurs it may not be so simple due to their numbers in midfield. Competing with the likes of Eriksen, Alli, Ndombele, Winks, Wanyama and Sissoko it would seem that the only way to accommodate Fernandes would be by selling players. Eriksen and Wanyama appear the obvious candidates to be moved on and if that was the case Fernandes is more than capable of filling the monstrous hole that Eriksen would leave.
With Ndombele/Sissoko slotted in for muscle behind him, a strong passer of the ball like Winks alongside him, could lead to a great partnership to watch. This could also free up Dele Alli to play the attacking role he thrived in in his breakthrough season.
Regardless of where he goes, Fernandes will definitely be one to watch and will no doubt improve whoever he joins.