Contract talks between Manchester United and Bruno Fernandes have been “temporarily shelved” with negotiations expected to resume at the end of the season.

United’s number 18 gave a timely reminder of the qualities he possesses by scoring both goals in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

The Portuguese international was at the heart of everything, which led to BBC pundits Gary Lineker and Micah Richards claiming he was “back to his best”.

Alongside both his goals, Fernandes was pressing, throwing himself into tackles and leading from the front as he wore the captain’s armband.

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
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It was the kind of performance that the former Sporting Lisbon man produced with great regularity after joining the club in January 2020.

According to the Athletic, his consistent performances prompted Manchester United to raise the prospect of a new contract with him in November 2020.

The club’s hierarchy felt the 27-year-old deserved an upgrade on his salary after galvanising the team and club since joining 10 months earlier.

However, according to the Athletic, those talks have been put on hold after Fernandes and his representatives turned down an offer in late autumn.

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
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But negotiations are expected to resume in May, when Fernandes and United are “clearer about the team’s situation next season”.

When Fernandes moved to Old Trafford he was given a modest salary in comparison to some of his teammates because his Sporting Lisbon wage was around £50,000 per week.

Although, Fernandes doubled his money upon joining the Red Devils, several United players are earning more than him.

Cristiano Ronaldo is United’s highest earner with a contract worth more than £400,000 per week, with David de Gea behind the 36-year-old on £375,000 per week.

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But the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford are all believed to receive £200,000 per week or more, with England duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw also close to that figure.

United have offered Fernandes improved terms but he is looking for “parity with the squad’s leading salaries given his importance to the team”.

United are thought to be “relaxed” about the situation. Unlike the likes of Pogba and Jesse Lingard who contracts expire in June, Fernandes is contracted to June 2025 with the option for a further year.

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League
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No player has had a bigger influence than Fernandes since he joined the club nearly two years ago and the fact that 10 players are currently earning more than him may have irked our Portuguese ‘Magnifico’.

United need to secure Champions League football and give Fernandes the parity he craves and rightly deserves.

Despite having an indifferent season in a struggling Manchester United side, only Mohamed Salah (45) and Harry Kane (34) have scored more Premier League goals since he arrived.

Bruno Fernandes has scored 33 goals and made 22 assists from from 70 games in England’s top-flight.

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