Bruno Fernandes salvaged Manchester United’s season after his January arrival, which even at a fee BBC report could rise to £67 million looks a relative bargain.
But wearing the famous red shirt means everyone has an opinion on you, and criticism is never far away – especially in the modern social media era.
A minority, mostly opposition fans, have already started to pick holes in the Portuguese international’s game, staggeringly.
It shouldn’t even need saying, but here’s why they’re so, so far wide of the mark.
What’s the criticism?
There appear to be two main criticisms of Fernandes.
One is that his ambitious passing style – always looking forward and trying things which might not come off – means he gives the ball away too much.
The other – and this is very much a typical social media nonsense – is that Fernandes is a ‘stat-padder’, which goes hand in hand with the growing frustration from rival fans that United have been awarded 21 penalties this season across all competitions.
Hated, adored, but never ignored springs to mind.
Criticism of Bruno is nonsense
If Bruno were repeatedly giving the ball away and not creating anything, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have a problem.
But after years of a pedestrian, safety-first approach, United finally have a player who will try things, even if they don’t come off every time.
For context, Jesse Lingard has a pass completion rate of 87.7 per cent to Bruno’s 75.7 (WhoScored) but not a single assist to his name this season.
Playing it safe counts for little when it comes to making chances.
That means players make more runs, because they know Bruno will be looking for them and he has the ability to play them in.
Solskjaer subtly reminded Fernandes he had been a touch wasteful in Monday’s win over Copenhagen, but he won’t want him to stop trying things. The key for United is to make sure Fernandes has enough of the ball.
‘Stat-padding’ is typical social media nonsense. Goals from penalties count just the same as all the others.
Moreover, for a United side who missed four of their nine penalties in the Premier League before Bruno arrived, a reliable spot-kick taker was actually very much needed.
As Solskjaer has been keen to emphasise to his strikers, football isn’t just about scoring the spectacular goals; converting the simple chances is what transforms a decent return into an exceptional one.
With United fans rightly enthused and excited about Fernandes, a minority being contrary and looking to pick holes was almost inevitable.
That doesn’t mean they’ve got a point.
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