Some players erupt into football stardom at a very early age, while others can make a steady start to their careers, honing their talents at smaller clubs until that one big breakthrough comes along. This is essentially what happened to Portuguese attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who has been a revelation since joining Manchester United in January 2020.
Settling in at the club like a duck takes to water, Fernandes has become one of the most important players at Manchester United, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks to build a side capable of winning silverware. This is evident even from casting a quick glance at the English Premier League odds for the 2021/2022 season, where the Red Devils are currently valued at 32/5 odds as star contenders for the title.
At the time of writing, since wearing the famous red shirt of Manchester United, the contribution Fernandes has made is quite spectacular, having scored 44 goals and provided 26 assists in 86 total appearances. Valued as one of the best of the attacking midfielders in the world, Fernandes has rapidly risen to fame for his creativity and vision at Old Trafford.
🗣 Mauro Borghetti (former coach of Bruno Fernandes): "[Bruno is] humble and never banal, he matured late. When he arrived [at Novara] he didn't even look like a footballer." [GDS] pic.twitter.com/Xp1Dz59qE9
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) June 26, 2021
However, it wasn’t always this way for Fernandes, who struggled to attract attention as a raw up-and-coming talent in his native Portugal, before being plucked from obscurity by modest Italian club Novara. This was the club where Fernandes made his professional debut in the Italian second tier, helping them to reach the promotion play-offs during the 2012-2013 season.
Impressed by what they had seen, Serie A side Udinese swooped in during the summer of 2013, elevating Fernandes to his first appearances at the highest level in Italian football. Although he did well over three campaigns, the Portuguese player wasn’t setting the world alight with his performances, he worked hard and achieved respectable numbers.
This earned a move to one of the more famous Italian sides when Sampdoria signed Fernandes on loan with an obligatory purchase clause. Despite putting on strong displays for his new team, Fernandes found himself struggling initially, before registering just five goals and three assists in all competitions. Nevertheless, the growing quality of his performances was beginning to attract greater attention.
Talks ongoing since July between Manchester United and Bruno Fernandes agent. Positive discussions underway – Bruno wants to stay, Man Utd want him to sign new deal by the end of the year. 🔴🇵🇹 #MUFC
Bruno’s contract is now considered the ‘priority’ together with Pogba. pic.twitter.com/t0Pr0zXuRx
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 13, 2021