No one had really heard of the name Bruno Fernandes until he took down to Manchester turf, and showed his talents. Since joining for the Red Devils he has shown himself to be one of the best, if not the best signing Manchester United have made in recent years. His impact at Old Trafford was immediate as he helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men achieve a third-place finish.
Since joining last year, the United star has 14 assists to his name, two more than Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, with 32 goals in his 29 Premier League appearances, in total in all competitions. The number 18 has made 30 appearances, winning the Goal of the Month in the 2019/2020 season and the Player of the Month three times respectively in February 2020, June 2020 and November 2020.
He is only the third player to earn the hat-trick feat in a calendar year. The two other players to win three awards in 12 months were Ashley Young for Aston Villa in 2008 and Harry Kane in Tottenham Hotspur in 2017. Bruno has directly contributed just over half of United’s 60 league goals since he made his debut, a total of 31. A record which saw him break Frank Lampard’s record which was set back in 2009.
Compared to the greats
The United starlet has become the first Portuguese player to score 10 goals in a Premier League season since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008-2009. Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi are the only players with more direct goal contributions in Europe’s top five leagues than Fernandes since the start of February. Since Fernandes made his debut, Mohammed Salah is the only player to score more than his 13 Premier League goals.
The dynamic genius has won as many Premier League Player of the Month awards as Gareth Bale, Mo Salah, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Robbie Keane. If he continues with his form, he will have a chance to tie with Steven Gerrard and Harry Kane by the end of the season. Man United paid an initial fee of around 47 million pounds for the 26-year-old with add-ons potentially increasing the overall cost to 67.6 Million Pounds.
Fernandes has added an extra part to his game since his move to England, making a reputation for becoming a prolific goal scorer alongside his vision to pick out team mates for goals. The 26-year-old has added to his game especially from the spot, with half of his Premier League goals from the spot. Consequently, the Man United playmaker has surpassed Denis Irwin’s spot kick haul.
The statistics you need to know
United have been awarded the joint most amount of penalties in the Premier League since Fernandes debut on February 1. A record which is level with Leicester City’s tally of 9. A joy to watch in United colours, Fernandes has taken 35 penalties during his professional career, scoring 32 of them, a success rate of 91 percent.
Just this season, he has featured in 15 matches, getting a total of 137 minutes on the pitch, an average of a phenomenal 84 minutes per match ratio. Based on the Portuguese’s appearances, his figures are impressive to the eye. His goals are ratioed at 0.69 per appearance, alongside a shot count of 3.19, an on-target conversion of 1.38.
The attacking midfielder has blocked shots at 1.06 and a fouled count at 1.38. But his completed pass rate is remarkable, a fantastic 43.25 beating all his other figures comfortably. The consistent midfielder has recorded more goal involvements per game than any other player in the 20-time champions modern history, more than Eric Cantona, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Fernandes has been a revelation since joining the club in January 2020, his work ethic second to none and a win at all costs attitude. The highly rated Portuguese midfielder has hit the ground running in his debut season and will look to maintain his solid form this season. This campaign, Fernandes is spearheading United’s unexpected Premier League title challenge, with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer side now only behind Liverpool in first place on goal difference, with a game in hand going into the Burnley clash at Turf Moor on Tuesday.
Former England striker Ashton talking to Talksport praised the midfielder’s hard work from day one: “I think Fernandes has already overtaken De Bruyne. You can see the difference when Sergio Aguero doesn’t play for Man City. You can the difference in De Bruyne, in terms of he looks like a frustrated figure in a lot of the games. Its that goal tally that Fernandes brings you. That goal threat that’s the difference between him and De Bruyne and that’s why I’d pick him and why I think he’s gone ahead of him as, for me, the best player in the Premier League.”
Ashton mentioned the difference in De Bruyne when Aguero has been out of the team. “The Man City player has created more chances, and chances from open play than Fernandes, but his teammates haven’t been able to convert those chances.”