Manchester United are again being linked with Bruno Fernandes ahead of the January transfer window. Portuguese newspaper O Jogo said earlier this week that the Portugal international was interesting the Red Devils who, alongside Atletico Madrid, are leading the charge. And, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does sign the midfielder, it would certainly make sense.
Manchester United appear to have come through their recent crisis. Less than a week ago, talk of Solskjaer getting the sack was beginning to gather momentum again.
But football is a funny game and, after beating Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the space of a few days, Solskjaer’s position seems safe.
It was curious that, after the 2-1 victory over City on Sunday, the United manager chose to laud the current crop of players at his disposal – while also expressing a belief that the squad will be strengthened.
“If we can keep these boys injury-free, we will take lots of points — and we are going to reinforce the squad,” he said.
And United are still keen to sign a midfielder.
Fernandes, given his sensational form for Sporting Lisbon, would then fit the bill.
United always insisted back in the summer that they weren’t as keen on the Portugal international as reports made out.
But developments in recent times suggest that isn’t the case and that United are, in fact, keen on finally ending the transfer saga once and for all.
Certainly, the Red Devils remain short in the middle of the park.
Scott McTominay has impressed this season, earning the trust of his manager and, in Solskajer’s own words, becoming ‘virtually undroppable’.
Fred, too, has started to finally live up to his massive £52million price tag.
But the brutal fact is that United are short on options. If either of those two players are injured, they have very little in reserve.
Pogba remains on the sidelines and there’s a sense that he still wants a move to Real Madrid, having failed to secure his dream transfer in the summer.
Solskjaer is reportedly now happy to let him go – providing funds from any exit are able to be used on fresh recruits.
And, regarding forgotten man Nemanja Matic, it’s a case of when, rather than if, he leaves Old Trafford behind.
That means that United’s interest in Fernandes now appears more realistic that at any point in time.
McTominay has chipped in with a couple but none of the United midfielders are capable of providing sufficient firepower from the centre of the field.
And Fernandes would certainly provide that.
He can play in the middle or even further forward. When in attacking positions, that’s when the 25-year-old is at his blockbuster best.
His stats this season – five goals and six assists from 12 Primeira Liga matches – definitely put both Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata to shame.
And all of this is why United’s interest appears to be real.
Finally, an end to the Fernandes saga seems to be in sight. And everybody within football will be relieved when it’s over.
Tottenham don’t want him and Real Madrid are expected to go for Pogba and Donny van de Beek instead.
And that’s why United, who are reportedly pushing hardest to sign the Portugal international, makes the most sense for all parties involved.