Bruno Fernandes’ promising but unspectacular debut for Manchester United against Wolves was probably quite useful in controlling the hype after his big money move.

United committed a potential £68 million to his signature, if all add-ons are achieved, which would make him the club’s fourth most expensive signing following Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Maguire.

So a big impression is expected from Fernandes, but hefty price tags have not always brought consistent results.

Look at Lukaku, who scored 18 and 25 Premier League goals in his last two seasons at Everton to earn his move, and then 16 and 12 at United.

Fernandes brings a sensational goalscoring record with him to Old Trafford, and assists too.


Last season he scored a staggering 20 league goals for Sporting and had 13 assists too. He will score goals for United, but expectations need to be measured.

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Fernandes focus

There are 13 Premier League games remaining, and there should not be any crazy expectations on Fernandes to score at a prolific rate. He won’t be hitting 13 in 13.

A solid target would be for him to score four goals between now and the end of the season in the Premier League.

If he hits that, he will have done very well. Especially considering he may not start all the games if he is rotated with Europa League matches.

United’s current top goalscoring midfielders in the league are on three goals, Dan James and Scott McTominay.

In the Europa League for Sporting this season he has five goals in five matches. He will fancy his chances of making an impact against Club Brugges.

His goal tally in the competition will depend on how far United go, but with high aspirations, Fernandes should set an ambitious target of at least another three goals in the Europa League if the Red Devils are to get to the final and win the competition.

The FA Cup will provide another opportunity for goals too, with United facing either Northampton Town or Derby County in the fifth round.

If United go far in both cups, Fernandes could be targeting eight or nine goals before the end of the season. If there are quick eliminations, then that target would be fairer set around five goals.

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Most important target may not be goals

Any goals Fernandes scores will help a strike shy team which struggles to break opponents down.

But the most important aspect of Fernandes’ game to develop is his link up with teammates.

He didn’t create any chances against Wolves, a product of him playing deep, and United need to get him connecting with Anthony Martial, or Mason Greenwood or Odion Ighalo.

If Fernandes can end the season with five assists then this will be a really positive step. Perhaps a more modest target like three is safer, but he should be aiming high.

The new signing showed leadership qualities against Wolves, bossing some of his more inexperienced teammates around. It was good to see.

It would be great for him to strike up some chemistry with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay when they return, as well as linking up with the players in front of him.

It is important Fernandes helps United develop as a team, and build a strong midfield unit and attack, to give us something to build on heading into next season.

That’s almost more important than any individual achievements he may hit along the way.

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