EPL

Fernandes signs new contract: The data that highlights Portugal star's importance to Man Utd

By Sports Desk April 01, 2022

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new deal with Manchester United to stay at Old Trafford for at least the next four years.

The 27-year-old has more than justified United's initial outlay of £47million (€55m) to sign him from Sporting CP two years ago, even if his form has dipped this campaign.

Fernandes was already tied down until the end of 2024-25, though his new contract – on substantially higher wages – is considered a reward for his performances.

He has signed until June 2026, with the option for another year on top of that.

And while uncertainty remains over the managerial position at Old Trafford, whoever is in charge from next season can build around Fernandes.

Here, Stats Perform looks at just how important Fernandes has been for United over the past two years.


UNITED'S GO-TO GUY

Fernandes' debut for United was nothing to write home about, with the Portugal international unable to inspire his side in a goalless Premier League draw at home to Wolves.

That run-out on February 1, 2020 was the first of 117 United appearances for Fernandes, which is the most of any player during this time, followed by Harry Maguire (105).

Fernandes has also started more games (106) for the Red Devils in the same period and played more minutes (9,470) than anyone else.

Indeed, no player has featured as often as Fernandes in Europe's top five leagues over that timeframe when taking all competitions into account.

CREATOR-IN-CHIEF

Fernandes has scored 49 goals for United and assisted 39, with those 88 direct goal involvements almost double that of next-best Marcus Rashford (46) within the Red Devils ranks.

In fact, the former Sampdoria star is in esteemed company as only five others have scored and assisted more in all competitions among teams from Europe's top five leagues.

He leads the way in that regard among Premier League players, closely followed by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (86 goal involvements).

The 302 chances created by Fernandes since arriving at United is more than any other player from the elite leagues, with Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (286) next on the list.

SHINING LIGHT IN DISAPPOINTING CAMPAIGN

Fernandes unsurprisingly leads the way among United players for goals (35), assists (25) and chances created (201) in the Premier League in his time at Old Trafford.

That form has helped Fernandes to four Player of the Month awards in the competition, level with Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, and a tally bettered by only six others.

Each of those awards came in 2020, though, and the Portuguese playmaker's attacking figures this season are down on the past two campaigns.

He is contributing to 0.58 goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term, compared to 0.87 last season and 1.13 in his first half-season at Old Trafford.

Yet even in what has been a slightly underwhelming campaign, Fernandes is creating more chances on average (2.96 per game) than any player on United's books to have started a Premier League game this season.

Related items

  • 'I got it wrong' - VAR official Dean accepts mistake of not punishing Romero for hair pull on Cucurella 'I got it wrong' - VAR official Dean accepts mistake of not punishing Romero for hair pull on Cucurella

    Video Assistant Referee Mike Dean has admitted he "got it wrong" by not encouraging referee Anthony Taylor to go to the pitchside monitor and consider sending off Tottenham defender Cristian Romero in the feisty 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

    The hosts led 2-1 going into the dying seconds at Stamford Bridge, before Spurs were awarded a late corner with Argentina international Romero appearing to pull Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair during the build-up.

    There was a pause in play while Dean took time to review the incident at Stockley Park, but he decided against sending Taylor to the pitchside monitor to consider a red card and play was restarted.

    Harry Kane then headed in a dramatic late equaliser before head coaches Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte clashed at full-time, with both receiving red cards after the final whistle.

    While Dean acknowledged that he could not have given Chelsea a free-kick through VAR, he accepted that he should have sent Taylor to look at the incident.

    In his column with the Daily Mail, Dean said: "Sometimes in hindsight, you realise you could have acted differently. I've now had time to reflect on Sunday's clash at Stamford Bridge.

    "I asked referee Anthony Taylor to wait while I looked at the incident involving Tottenham's Cristian Romero and Chelsea's Marc Cucurella. I could not award a free-kick as VAR, but I could recommend to Taylor that he visit the referee review area to consider a possible red card.

    "In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella's hair, I didn't deem it a violent act. I've since studied the footage, spoken to other referees and, upon reflection, I should have asked Taylor to visit his pitchside monitor to take a look for himself.

    "It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are - and I've spent more than two decades as a Premier League official - you are always learning."

    Prior to the injury-time incident, there were also complaints from Chelsea over Spurs' first equaliser in the 68th minute.

    A sliding challenge from Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz was deemed not to be a foul, before there were claims the flag should have gone up with Richarlison stood in an offside position and obstructing goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's view as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stroked the ball home.

    But Dean believes he was right to let Hojbjerg's goal stand, saying: "This one was relatively straightforward. I can't go back 44 seconds to look at Rodrigo Bentancur's potential foul on Kai Havertz.

    "The question was whether Richarlison was interfering from an offside position. When Hojbjerg's shot was struck, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a view of the ball for me. His line of vision wasn't clearly blocked, so it was onside and 1-1."

  • Liverpool the 'perfect game' for Man Utd to turn things around, warns Van Dijk Liverpool the 'perfect game' for Man Utd to turn things around, warns Van Dijk

    Facing Liverpool at Old Trafford is the "perfect game" for Manchester United to kick-start their season, Virgil van Dijk has warned.

    United followed up a 2-1 home loss against Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening Premier League game of the campaign with a heavy 4-0 defeat at Brentford last weekend.

    The Red Devils find themselves bottom for the first time since August 1992, which is the only previous occasion they lost their opening two games in the competition.

    Erik ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his opening two games in charge since John Chapman in 1921 and the Dutchman's task does not get any easier.

    United face fierce rivals Liverpool on Monday, when Van Dijk expects the home side to be extra motivated to get off the mark in front of their own fans.

    "It's massive, but it's not about making a statement. We want to win and do everything that's possible to win there," Van Dijk said. 

    "This year they've had a difficult start and we've not had the best start that we wanted either, so it will be interesting. 

    "Obviously they're not in the best situation confidence-wise probably, but it's the perfect game to turn it around for them."

    Liverpool finished one point behind champions Manchester City last season, but they have started the 2022-23 campaign with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

    That makes Monday's encounter the first time that United and Liverpool have been winless in the Premier League heading into this fixture.

    Jurgen Klopp's side have won their past two league games at Old Trafford, including a 5-0 thumping last season, and are looking to make it three in a row for the first time.

    "Over the years it’s proven tough for us to win there, though last year was a great result, we can't deny it," Van Dijk said.

    "This week we showed a lot of good spirit and fight in training, and we've got to bring that to the game on Monday."

  • Lakers to retire Gasol's number 16 jersey Lakers to retire Gasol's number 16 jersey

    The Los Angeles Lakers will honour Spanish legend Pau Gasol when they retire his number 16 jersey next year.

    A ceremony will take place on March 7, 2023 when the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Gasol played for the Lakers between 2008 and 2014, having arrived from Memphis, appearing in three NBA Finals and winning two championships alongside Kobe Bryant.

    Three of his six All-Star appearances came during his time in Los Angeles, before he left for the Chicago Bulls in 2014.

    After time with the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, Gasol returned to Europe for a second spell with Barcelona, where his career had begun, before retiring in October last year at the age of 41.

    Following the announcement, Gasol took to Twitter to thank his former franchise, writing: "Beyond thankful and honoured!!!"

    Gasol had an average of 17.7 points per game during his time with the Lakers, as well 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks in 429 appearances.

    He will join a number of legends, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant and Magic Johnson, in having his jersey retired by the Lakers.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.