Fernandes needs to grasp Manchester United role in way Mata never really did

New Manchester United signing Bruno Fernandes shared a picture yesterday with teammate Juan Mata. It was a reminder that the Portugal international has to grasp the opportunity his teammate has never quite managed to.

The pair share a lot in common aside from hailing from Europe’s Iberian Peninsula.

Both are creative players with set piece ability, who were signed for big fees. Fernandes has cost an initial £46 million while Mata set United back £37 million in 2014.

Signed six years apart, both players arrived in similar scenarios. Each of them were bought in January to solve creative deficiencies in an under performing team.

Like Mata had a prolific record at Chelsea, Fernandes brought with him a record of 13 goals and 10 assists at Sporting in just half a season.

Both players were and are expected to transform United’s fortunes. In Mata’s case it didn’t really click.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Why can Fernandes get it right?

To answer this, the first thing to look at is why Mata didn’t become the player United needed him to be.

The Spaniard had some fine moments, the volley against Juventus and free-kick against Juventus. But these were few and far in between.

Mata found himself played out wide amid a conflict of position with Wayne Rooney, and appeared an ill fit for United at the time.

Right now, there is no dispute as to whether Fernandes is suited to United. He fits like a glove, filling a glaring and obvious need for a quality attacking midfielder at Old Trafford.

He also appears to have a more forceful personality than the more laid back Spaniard.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Even in Fernandes’ first United game against Wolves, he was seen instructing teammates who he had spent just one training session with prior to his debut.

Mata joined a team on a sharp decline, while Fernandes is hoping he is part of a team on the rise.

He can play a big part in dragging United back to the top level, and perhaps he might just inspire Mata to a period of late career success at Old Trafford too.

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