Generally, players who play their first game for a club on February 1 aren’t in the running for their end of season Player of the Year award.
But this is no ordinary season…and Bruno Fernandes is no ordinary player.
Others such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have decent claims to scoop the famous award.
Here are three reasons why Bruno is such a good candidate to be crowned Manchester United’s best player of 2019/20, despite only arriving halfway through, for a fee which could rise to £67.7 million (Times).
He saved United’s season
It is worth remembering where United were when Fernandes arrived.
After his debut, a 0-0 draw at home to Wolves, United were 14 points behind Leicester in third and six off the top four.
No player since Wayne Rooney has had such an instant impact. It has been said so many times now, but he was the undoubted catalyst for change at Old Trafford.
Eight goals and seven assists have helped ensure he has never been on the losing side in the Premier League.
He saved a season which was drifting and transformed the mood of the world’s biggest football club. That takes some doing.
He plays every game
Bruno has started every single United game he has been available for.
Even when the side is rotated for the Europa League or FA Cup, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows he cannot do without the Portuguese play-maker.
He looked absolutely shattered towards the end of Sunday’s win at Leicester and that is no surprise.
Fernandes always plays, and drives United forward with his high energy style. He has become indispensable.
Transformed Solskjaer’s tactics
Fernandes’s arrival allowed United to play a pressing game, with the Portuguese putting in the hard yards to cover the ground between midfield and attack.
His flair and creativity have also seen United become more adept at picking off so-called lesser sides.
He has had a transformative impact on Solskjaer’s team at both ends of the pitch, without the need for the Norwegian to alter too much tactically.
Fernandes keeps prodding and probing defences and our front players can now make runs knowing they will be found more often than not.