Bruno Fernandes ended the season as a hero at Manchester United.
The Portuguese star was the catalyst for an unbeaten Premier League run stretching 14 matches which saw the Red Devils fight back to finish in third place.
He has 10 goals for United plus a further eight assists in an impressive half-season which could yet get better if he features in the Europa League.
Those figures see him register the fourth highest number of goals in United’s squad behind Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
He also has the highest number of assists, edging Marcus Rashford out by one.
Fernandes’ half-season is made even better by the fact he ended the season as Sporting’s most prolific player too.
Still the best
Despite leaving Sporting behind after his final game against Maritimo on January 27 (yes it’s ludicrous United let the saga drag on that long), no player at the Portuguese club ended the season with a superior record.
He scored 13 goals for Sporting in all competitions, and provided 11 assists. Both tallies went unmatched.
Even just his league record alone was not bettered in either category, eight goals and seven assists.
This puts his performances for the Portuguese club in an even more glowing context, that in an otherwise ordinary team he was able to shine and stand out so much.
One of the mistakes fans often make with new signings is to expect too much right away. This usually leads to disappointment.
Arriving mid-season, adjusting to a different country, a total of 10 goals and assists combined would have been a reasonable return for Fernandes. Instead he got closer to 20 and may still get there.
This means there will be really high expectations on Fernandes for 2020/21, as he has shown he can handle the pressure.
United should be able to do a better job of keeping him fresh too if better squad depth is added around him.
It might even be possible for Fernandes to end next season with 30 goals and assists combined. But even if he does not quite get there, we are confident he will be close. Sporting’s loss is definitely Manchester United’s gain.
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