Bruno Fernandes was linked with almost every top European club in the summer, including Manchester United, with his name appearing in gossip columns on a daily basis.
But despite all the speculation he remained at Sporting Lisbon and even signed a new deal at the club in November, so surely the speculation surrounding Fernandes wouldn’t continue in January 2020?
Fernandes is now being heavily linked with a move to United once again, with United reconsidering their stance on the midfielder from the summer.
So, how would United perform if Fernandes actually joined the club this month?
We used Football Manager 2020 to have a bit of fun and try and predict how United would perform with Bruno Fernandes in the team from January onwards.
Here’s what happened…
Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United in January 2020
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2020 editor to arrange a future transfer of Bruno Fernandes moving to Old Trafford for £60 million on January 1st 2020.
We then simulated the entire 2019/20 season to see what kind of impact Fernandes would have on the United team.
This is how Fernandes’ profile looks in Football Manager 2020.
Current ability: 159/200
Potential ability: 166/200
Why do we use the Football Manager database as a reference?
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The database also incorporates a wealth of nation-specific details such as currency, tax rates, national team records, histories in major tournaments and so on. All of this information combines to create an accurate representation of ‘real world’ football within Football Manager.
Football Manager use a query-based system of checks and balances designed to ensure that there are no statistical outliers within any particular club, division, league or country.
In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents etc.) who provide regular feedback.
Sports Interactive (SI)
Sports Interactive (SI) is the world’s leading developer of football management simulations through the best-selling Football Manager series.
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The midfielder has some excellent attributes, with particularly strong technical ability, which would be a massive boost for United this season.
So, how did Manchester United perform with Fernandes in the team?
Here’s what happened.
Bruno Fernandes’ 2019/20 season for Manchester United
The midfielder had an outstanding half-season for United, scoring 14 goals and registering 10 assists in 28 appearances in all competitions from January 1st onwards.
His form was so good that he was actually United’s second-highest rated player of the entire season, with an average match rating of 7.27, beaten only by Marcus Rashford.
Fernandes’ goal scoring was fantastic, scoring only two less than Rashford, and he only joined mid-way through the season!
But it was his creative play that really had an impact on United’s team, with the 25-year-old creating more chances for his teammates than any United player, including top assist provider Paul Pogba.
Manchester United’s best XI in 2019/20
Manchester United’s 2018/19 league points: 66
Manchester United’s 2019/20 league points: 76
Fernandes’ impact was immediate, with United earning 10 more points than the previous season.
But, that didn’t result in a top four finish, with United finishing just two points behind Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side in fourth place.
Manchester United’s 2018/19 league position: 6th
Manchester United’s 2019/20 league position: 5th
Although the season didn’t quite turn out as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have wanted on our Football Manager 2020 simulation, the season does represent a significant improvement over the last campaign, with more points earned and some great form shown in the second-half of the campaign.
What do you make of this Fernandes simulation? Do you want to see United complete the signing of Fernandes this month?
According to our Football Manager 2020 simulation, Fernandes would improve the United side instantly, if the club did sign him this month.