It’s taken the entire month but Manchester United have finally got their man.
Bruno Fernandes will sign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side for an initial £46.56 million but the fee could rise to £68 million thanks to a number of add-ons.
Sporting would receive £8.46 million if Fernandes reaches what are considered to be easily achievable targets. Another £12.7 million will be paid if Fernandes achieve some more difficult targets, such as winning the Ballon d’Or.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Barcelona were interested in signing the 25-year-old but United managed to get the deal done.
Sporting were initially holding out for £68 million up-front but now, it’s unlikely that United will have to pay that amount unless Fernandes exceeds all expectations.
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Having watched the player since 2015, it’s clear the club know everything there is to know about the Portuguese.
But how is he going to fit into this United side?
Well, one thing is for sure: He’s going to be a regular starter.
And here are five ways Solskjaer could integrate him into the starting XI.
OPTION 1 | 4-3-3
With injuries to Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford, Solskjaer won’t be able to field this XI for a little while. But when everyone is fit, this could United’s strongest line-up.
Having both Pogba and Fernandes in a midfield three behind Rashford. Anthony Martial and Daniel James, it would leave McTominay with a tough job on his hands.
It certainly wouldn’t be used against big teams but could be one for home matches against lesser sides - fixtures United have struggled to win this season.
OPTION 2 | 4-2-3-1
This is perhaps more realistic and not quite so attacking.
It sees Fernandes in a No.10 role, accompanying Rashford and James in behind Martial.
With McTominay and Fred providing more protection in midfield, it will allow the new signing to concentrate and his attacking duties.
OPTION 3 | 4-2-3-1
Very similar to option two but it involves Nemanja Matic playing alongside McTominay. This gives even more protection to the defence.
OPTION 4 | 4-3-3
A midfield three of Fred, Pogba and Fernandes will consist of a lot of creativity but very little defensive nous.
Pogba would probably have to be disciplined in this line-up, while Fernandes would also be expected to work hard defensively.
OPTION 5 | DIAMOND
This would be a change to a front-three but it allows Fernandes to play in his favoured role behind the striker.
McTominay would play in an anchor role, with Pogba and Fred ahead of him. Then, Fernandes would play behind Rashford and Martial. The full-backs would be expected to get forward to provide some width.
So, five possible ways Solskjaer could line-up with their new signing.
It may take time for Fernandes to adapt to English football - especially halfway through a campaign.
But there’s no doubting his quality, having scored 64 goals in 137 appearances for Sporting.
With McTominay and Pogba currently out injured, a new midfielder was imperative this month. Fernandes can provide that much-needed creativity the Red Devils have been sorely missing without Pogba, while also having an impressive goalscoring record.
While he may not be able to transform United’s season and earn them Champions League qualification, this looks to be a very good signing for the club.News Now - Sport News