Before the much-warranted anti-Glazer protests at the weekend, Manchester United destroyed Roma in a Europa League semi-final.

Bruno Fernandes was instrumental in the first leg win, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

It was a spectacular return to form for Fernandes, who showed that when United need him, he is capable of stepping up.

Over the past 16 months, Fernandes has been unstoppable since joining United, and has made teams across Europe regret not signing him.

Manchester United v AS Roma - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg One
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

United’s move paid off

Calciomercato report Juventus had followed Fernandes since his time at Udinese, and now regret not signing for him.

They are resigned to the fact he would be too expensive to pry away from United, that he would cost more than £100 million.

AC Milan also tried and failed to sign Fernandes, and can only wonder what might have been.

Tottenham infamously bid for Fernandes in summer 2019 and failed to meet Sporting’s asking price. Mauricio Pochettino lost his job months later. If they had signed Fernandes, the Argentine would probably still be there.

The Sun reported last October that Barcelona and Real Madrid both harboured dreams of signing him. They can dream.

United’s deal is the was the type of move which will make clubs question their own transfer strategies. Were they wrong to dismiss a standout performer just because he plays in Portugal?

 

Is it acceptable to pay big money for a player with some rough edges so long as the elite production is there? Fernandes’ continued success suggests the answer is a big ‘yes’.

Top performer

Fernandes will cost United £67 million [The Times] if all the add-ons to his deal are met, which they might at the rate he is on, and he is already worth every penny.

He has scored 38 goals for the club since he signed, and has a further 24 assists.

Those numbers are just insane, by any measure, and a striker would be proud.

It’s no surprise clubs across Europe are kicking themselves for not signing him when United did.

Manchester United v AS Roma - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Leg One
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Bleacher Report state Fernandes is one of just eight players in Europe’s top five leagues with 10 plus goals and assists this season. He is one of just two midfielders on the elite list, along with Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente.

He does not appear to be slowing down either. He scored 32 goals for Sporting in 2018/19 and told the MEN he wants to better this tally this season. Currently he is on 26, so it is just about in reach.

Interest in Fernandes may mount, and that will increase pressure on United to win trophies, but we are not far away.

Fernandes is currently under contract at Old Trafford until 2026, and so there is no danger of him leaving any time soon.

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