There is no denying Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Manchester United in late January transformed the team’s season.

The memory of a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley was still fresh when Fernandes arrived a few days later.

Fernandes gave United a spark from February which only got stronger after the lockdown.

The Portuguese star improbably managed to haul United up the table into third place.

Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain: Group H - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

This season he has continued his outstanding form, and has now won three Premier League Player of the Month awards out of a possible nine he has been eligible for.

Fernandes’ success disproves the notion that ‘you cannot buy quality in the January transfer window’.

Admittedly it is trickier, with players reluctant to quit Champions League sides ahead of knockout ties. But outside of these 16 teams, it is very possible to do deals.

Quality which lasts

Fernandes’ success appears to be sustainable. This season he has created more chances than any other player in the Premier League.

This is no flash in the pan as Papiss Cisse turned out to be once at Newcastle United after making an instant impact after a January transfer, which he could not maintain.

Fernandes is here to stay and has transformed Manchester United for the better.

 

He was not the only huge success, with Erling Haaland’s impact at Dortmund showing that bargains can be found in January.

What does it mean for 2021?

Fernandes’ success shows how a drab first half of the season can be turned around by just one player.

This should prompt clubs to be more aggressive this January, especially in a tight Premier League.

One or two big signings mid-season could make a real difference, and take a team from an eighth placed finish into third, or even from fourth into first by the end of the season if they have an impact like Fernandes.

Teams should not be backing away from January, especially with the Euros likely to complicate the summer window. Instead, the transfer dates offer a real opportunity.

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

In a normal year, Fernandes’ success would redefine the transfer window and change the way teams approach it, particularly United.

However, an uncertain financial climate is likely to check progress on that front.

Barring a few small-scale exceptions, fans are still not allowed back into stadiums, and clubs are missing out on major revenue.

This is likely to continue to put a dampener on the transfer market next month, and the £67.7 million mid-season fee committed to for Fernandes is unlikely to be repeated by any club – even though it probably should be.

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