Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United has already become the transfer saga of the January window.
The Sporting Lisbon midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer, but United have stepped up their interest and are looking to sign him this month.
According to the BBC, face-to-face talks have been held over a move, with Fernandes keen to join the Reds.
We looked at three key reasons Fernandes would improve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, that is so lacking in a creative threat.
While there are still concerns whether Solskjaer’s pattern of play against the low block is the main issue, Fernandes’ goal contribution record, even in the Portuguese league, is mightily impressive. The Sporting skipper has 7 goals and 8 assists in Primera Liga in just 15 appearances this season. Last season he registered netted 20 times and registered 13 assists, so his impressive start to this season does not come as a surprise. Fernandes clearly has an eye for a defence-splitting pass; Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford could benefit hugely from his presence in an attacking midfield role. He is not afraid to shoot from long-distance either, and while his efforts are often speculative, his ability to trouble the goalkeeper is obvious.
United’s creative weakness
Part of many United fans’ desperation for the club to sign Fernandes this season is the lack of options Solskjaer has at his disposal. Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 system is so heavily reliant on a creative link between midfield and attack that possesses genuine quality. Fernandes could be the man to solve some of the problems. United have consistently struggled to break down opposition defences with a low block, and are often exposed for a lack of ideas when the onus is on them to score. But with Fernandes at 10, alongside Paul Pogba when the Frenchman returns from injury, the midfield improves immeasurably and will make the Reds much more of an attacking threat.
If Fernandes was to sign for United, he would join Juan Mata and Paul Pogba as one of the most technically gifted players at the club. The Portuguese international has an exemplary touch and great passing range, which can benefit Solskjaer’s side in the attacking transition. Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira, both often selected in the no10 role by the United boss, do not share Fernandes’ quality on the ball and are often let down by their touch or a simple pass. With Fernandes, we would expect a higher ball retention as United probe and try and break down opposition defences.