Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been recounting his first impressions of seeing Bruno Fernandes play live for the first time.
Recalling personally scouting star man Fernandes while he was playing for Sporting, Solskjaer says he was taken aback at just how influential the current United hero is.
Solskjaer told the club website:
“I believe that, of course, I need to go and watch him myself. I’ve always known [his ability], as I’ve seen him on telly and that stuff.
“When I went to see him live he was exceptional in his enthusiasm; the way he wanted to win, that winning mentality. That was fantastic when I saw him, but I have to go back to all the chief scouts.
“The scouting network has been really good, so it’s not like I can just pick someone and, if five of them say no, then I’ll force things through. It’s a team effort there as well. Of course, Bruno has come in and been fantastic for us.“
All on board
Solskjaer was praising United’s recruitment process which has helped the team move forward from sixth to third over the past season on the pitch.
We still can’t then fathom quite what happened last summer when the club passed on Fernandes, but clearly Solskjaer did not go and watch him play early enough.
The extra time on lockdown earlier this year will have given Solskjaer extra time to work with United’s recruitment team ahead of this summer’s window.
We imagine that by now United and Solskjaer have a very good idea of who they want to sign, but there need to be multiple scenarios built in, for if the board are unable to agree fees.
The Fernandes experience should act as a lesson though, that a player of top quality should not be passed up for the sake of a few million saved in negotitations.
If Ed Woodward had decided not to meet Sporting’s asking price back in late January, as nearly happened, it does not bear thinking about how United’s season may have ended up.
Fernandes gave United the lift we needed when we needed it most, and helped inspire a tired squad.
Even on the final day when he was having a poor game, it was his wonderfully threaded through pass to Anthony Martial which led to United winning a decisive penalty, which he showed the character to step up and score.
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