Bruno Fernandes has performed beyond expectations since signing for Manchester United. He’s made an inconsistent team click and look like a real force again.
Is he a miracle worker? He might just be if he can get Alexis Sanchez firing again for the club next season.
Based on what we have seen in two years since he signed, Sanchez is a washed up shadow of his former self. The deal has been a colossal failure, and considering the wages he is being paid, it’s one of United’s worst ever moves.
His loan at Inter Milan has also been an injury hit disappointment. They don’t want to sign him permanently. Will anybody?
There is a real chance Sanchez and United may be stuck with each other next season. His contract runs for another two years, and in this financial climate, no team are likely to want to pay him on even half the wages he earns at Old Trafford.
So, can Bruno Fernandes play a role in turning a bad situation into a surprise success?
When Sanchez thrived
Sanchez’s best stint in English football came at Arsenal. In 2016/17 he scored 30 goals.
As former United midfielder Paul Ince recently pointed out, quoted by Goal, Sanchez benefitted playing alongside Mesut Ozil.
Ince told Paddy Power: “We all know what happened next, but something that a lot of people overlook is Mesut Ozil – the reason Sanchez was so good at Arsenal was because he had Ozil next to him.
“As a pair, they just had this telepathy with each other, they instinctively understood each other, they knew the runs the other were going to make without looking. Most good things that Alexis did at Arsenal were connected with Ozil.”
During Sanchez’s time at Manchester United, he hasn’t had a player like this to link up regularly.
We all know Jesse Lingard’s limitations by now and Juan Mata has been a bit-part player for the past two-three seasons.
Getting the chance to play with Bruno Fernandes, one of Europe’s best attacking and creative players, could give new life to Sanchez’s career.
Fernandes has had United’s attack purring in recent matches before the break. Mata has looked like a different player alongside him, and he has had an instant connection with both Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo.
It’s led to fans counting down the minutes until he links up with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, and wondering just how good this attack can be.
Sanchez too could thrive, if he can come back to United injury free and at peak fitness.
Solskjaer said in January that the door will remain open for Sanchez this summer.
While it is very possible he doesn’t play another game for the club again and we work out a way to loan him out for another season and get part of his wages paid, there could be no takers.
And if upon a return to Carrington, there are signs that Sanchez and Fernandes hit it off, perhaps United might decide to give it one last go.
Even for just one season, with a view to helping Sanchez find a club and net United a fee in 2021, the Chilean could still repay United on the pitch with one last meaningful contribution now he has the help he needs.
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