Bruno Fernandes' first season at Man Utd has been simulated on Football Manager

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Bruno Fernandes seems to be just a few hours away from becoming a Manchester United player.

Negotiations between the Red Devils and Sporting Lisbon thawed on Tuesday afternoon after weeks of valuation disagreements and a last-ditch approach from Barcelona earlier in the week.

However, everything points towards Fernandes pulling on the famous red jersey to the tune of an initial £47 million fee and supporters are already restless for an official announcement to be made. 

And in the mean time, fans can start to fantasise about exactly how Fernandes will benefit the club and whether he'll be the impact arrival that his form in Portugal would suggest him to be.

Unfortunately, we don't have a crystal ball here at GIVEMESPORT, but one of the best predictive tools is undoubtedly Football Manager 2020 and its rich bank of data on the beautiful game.

Simulating Fernandes at Man Utd

And luckily for us all, the Manchester Evening News constructed an FM2020 simulation earlier in the month to try and forecast how Fernandes would perform this season at Old Trafford.

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The premise

Straight off the bat, there's not a perfect way to run these sort of simulations and there are a few discrepancies that make the FM2020 world a little different from reality.

Firstly, Fernandes was switched from Sporting to United for a transfer fee of £60 million on January 1, 2020, in the virtual scenario.

From there on in, United's entire 2019/20 season was simulated, so you can forget what you already know about the club's struggles under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently.

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Fernandes' individual performance

What. An. Impact.

Fernandes proved an inspired signing during his first six months at the 'Theatre of Dreams', scoring 14 times and providing 10 assists from midfield in just 28 appearances in all competitions.

The 25-year-old's performances were so impressive that he finished the campaign as United's second highest-rated player, with an average match score of 7.27, behind Marcus Rashford.

His goal tally of 14 made him United's second top scorer for the entire season, too, and he even created more chances (81) than the club's leading assist provider Paul Pogba (72).

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Man Utd's overall season

Fernandes dropped into the number 10 spot for United's best XI during the 2019/20 campaign, slotting behind the front three of Rashford, Anthony Martial and surprisingly Jesse Lingard.

And Fernandes' arrival seemed to have a very positive impact on United as they finished the season with 10 more Premier League points than the previous year.

It wasn't enough to reach the Champions League places, mind, but fifth place would prove a solid launching pad for Fernandes going into his first full season in this virtual reality.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

Fernandes is exactly the player United need right now and I see him proving a real hit in the Premier League.

The Red Devils are sometimes incredibly ham-fisted with their transfers, but they've really taken their time with this move and their interest can reportedly be traced back over five years.

It's a wise approach that has allowed Fernandes to mature and adapt his game in Portugal, hopefully ensuring he won't arrive in a bigger league as underbaked as some of his native forbearers. 

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But... even some of the world's best players take time to adapt to English football, so we shouldn't expect the sort of life-changing impact that has been predicted by FM2020.

Expect the assists to start flowing by the time March and April arrive, especially if he's playing alongside Pogba, and he's bound to outscore Lingard and Daniel James at the very least.

Fernandes could be the signing to turns things around for United, but don't expect things to change overnight. Good things come to those who wait.

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