Manchester United are set to offer Bruno Fernandes a new contract worth £200,000-a-week to fend off Real Madrid and Barcelona. The two La Liga giants are both big admirers of the Portugal international. But the Red Devils, who famously lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Los Blancos back in the summer transfer window of 2009, are keen to avoid a repeat of that happening again.
Where would United be without Fernandes?
That’s a question Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would never answer. Prior to the 26-year-old’s move to Old Trafford, the Red Devils were a club in crisis.
But, since Fernandes walked in the door back in January, the Portugal international has helped the Red Devils turn things around.
Last season, he wasted no time in introducing himself to English football. He scored eight goals and registered seven assists from 14 Premier League games last term, firing them back into the Champions League in the process.
And Fernandes has continued his brilliant form this term, scoring seven goals and registering 10 assists from nine appearances.
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And Ronaldo will no doubt be behind their thinking.
United never wanted to let the Portugal international leave in 2009 when Real Madrid came calling. Having won a third title on the trot under Sir Alex Ferguson, they’d hoped he would stay put.
But that didn’t happen, with the Red Devils reluctantly agreeing to let Ronaldo move to the Bernabeu in return for a huge £80million.
At the time, that looked good business.
But Ronaldo proved to be an £80m bargain during his time in Madrid, scoring 450 goals from 438 appearances before leaving for Juventus in the summer transfer window of 2018.
United regretted letting him go. They still feel that way now, all these years on.
Consequently, they flatly refused to let David De Gea move to Spain when Real came calling in 2015. They were convinced they’d land their man but, in the end, their faith was misjudged.
That was a big coup for United and, now, they’re hoping to do the same with Fernandes.
There’s nothing to suggest he wants to leave the club, regardless of Real and Barcelona’s current interest.
And with United keen to avoid repeating the same mistakes of old, news of them giving Fernandes a new deal feels significant.