EPL

Bruno Fernandes to Man Utd: From Ronaldo to Bebe - All the players to swap Portugal for Old Trafford

By Sports Desk January 29, 2020

At long last, one of the more wearisome transfer sagas of the past 12 months is nearing conclusion – Manchester United announced they have agreed a fee with Sporting CP for Bruno Fernandes.

It seemed for a while that Fernandes would join United in pre-season, but, despite their seemingly obvious need for midfield reinforcements, a move never materialised and he remained with Sporting.

Speculation began to stir again last month, and the two clubs are said to have been locked in talks for much of January – though reports of Barcelona apparently hoping to sign Fernandes in order to use him in negotiations with Valencia for Rodrigo Moreno surfaced earlier this week.

Whether or not that story was a ploy by an agent to jolt United into decisive action, who knows? But something seemed to change this week, as the Red Devils finally reached an agreement with Sporting.

Fernandes had a massive impact at the club during his two-and-a-half-year spell, becoming captain and scoring or setting up 67 Primeira Liga goals in 83 appearances.

United certainly don't have a 100 per cent hit-rate when it comes to signings from Portugal – below, we examined whether their previous imports from the Iberian nation have been misses or not.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009) – HIT

The one that needs no introduction – Ronaldo was a revelation for United following his 2003 arrival from Sporting. The lanky teenager dazzled against United when they faced Sporting for the opening of their Jose Alvalade stadium and, as the story goes, those he tormented implored Alex Ferguson to sign him. So, he did. Outrageously skilful and flashy, early Ronaldo was as fun as they come, but after bulking out he developed a deadly streak, netting 31 times in the 2007-08 Premier League season and helping them to Champions League success. He has since gone on to mark himself out as one of the all-time greats with Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal.

Bebe (2010-2014) – MISS

From Ferguson's best to arguably his worst signing. Despite the Scot never seeing him play, Bebe is said to have arrived following a recommendation from Ferguson's former right-hand man, Carlos Queiroz. United reportedly paid Vitoria Guimaraes £7.5m for the attacker, but he immediately looked short of the required ability. He somehow managed to last four years at the club, including three loan spells. Most of his career since has been spent in Spain, and he's now playing for Rayo Vallecano in La Segunda.

Nani (2007-2015) – HIT

Few players polarised opinion quite like Nani during his time at United. Undoubtedly capable of the spectacular, he also had his fair share of underwhelming performances and could be infuriatingly frustrating. Like Ronaldo, Nani arrived from Sporting and it was initially said he struggled with the pressure due to comparisons with his United and Portugal team-mate. But in 2010-11 he established himself, producing some spell-binding performances to earn himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year and the United Players' Player of the Year award. Injuries then took their toll before leaving in 2015, going on to have something of a nomadic career ever since, though he has become Portugal's fourth-highest capped international.

Anderson (2007-2015) – MISS

Oh, what might've been. There's little doubt Anderson was immensely talented, but throughout his time with United there were concerns about his fitness and professionalism. He probably wasn't helped by being turned into something resembling a holding midfielder, given he thrived in a more attacking role previously, but he generally failed to live up to expectations. That's not to say he was hopeless – he amassed almost 200 appearances for the club, but given the promise he showed in his youth, he failed to reach his potential. Aged 31, he retired in September following a spell with Adana Demirspor in Turkey's second tier.

Victor Lindelof (2017-present) – HIT

After an unconvincing debut season following a move from Benfica potentially worth £38m, Lindelof has generally settled well at United and become a first-choice centre-back. Comfortable on the ball and a good reader of the game, the Sweden international is mostly dependable. Nevertheless, he's certainly not the perfect defender – he's not especially quick and does appear to struggle with physical forwards. So far, he can just about be regarded a 'hit', but United will surely be hoping for an improvement from him.

Marcos Rojo (2014-present) – MISS

Rojo always looked a somewhat puzzling addition, and those initial feelings have never really gone away. Technically able and versatile enough to play either centre-back or on the left, Rojo also relishes a physical tussle. But as something of a hot-head, Rojo has a tendency to be rash. Even Sporting fans were baffled when he joined United, who are said to have tried to sell him in almost every pre-season since buying the Argentina international. He now looks set to return to Estudiantes on loan.

Diogo Dalot (2018-present) – JURY'S OUT

Lauded as the best young full-back in the world by Jose Mourinho when he signed Dalot from his former club Porto in 2018, the Portugal Under-21 international is yet to prove that claim. He showed promise last season, with his ability on the ball and crossing earning acclaim, but he failed to hold down a spot at right-back despite United's concerning lack of quality in that position – Dalot's defensive capabilities proving unconvincing. The club then went out and splurged on Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Dalot, who has suffered numerous injuries, is undoubtedly talented, but a future as a regular at United might rely on him being converted into a winger.

Related items

  • I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unsure what his future holds amid reports he will leave AC Milan at the end of the season and possibly retire.

    Ibrahimovic, 38, returned to Milan in December and scored four goals in 10 appearances before the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The former Barcelona, Inter and Manchester United star is reportedly considering his future, with his contract at Milan expiring at season's end.

    But Ibrahimovic said even he was unsure about what was ahead as he considers his options.

    "Let's see," he told Svenska Dagbladet on Wednesday.

    "I don't even know what I want. Something new happens every day. Who could have predicted this with corona? We just have to try to live and enjoy life.

    "Don't worry too much. I have a family to take care of, they feel good so I feel good."

    Italy has been hit hard by coronavirus, reporting more than 110,000 cases and 13,100 deaths.

    Ibrahimovic said the health of the community had to come first, with the Serie A season suspended indefinitely.

    "It started to spread to football. They shut down the whole training facility, we were not allowed to move outside," he said.

    "It is tragic that football leagues shut down, but we must respect the system and be patient. They must find a solution that is good for the whole community.

    "Health is above all sport. I'm not worried about corona. I think it will be solved, it's just to wait until the experts know what to do."

  • Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step' Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step'

    Manchester City defender Kyle Walker hopes the Premier League season can resume, but said "football has to take a back step for now".

    The campaign has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought sport to a standstill around the world.

    It remains unclear when, and if, the Premier League campaign will resume, but Walker is hoping the season can get back underway.

    "Football has to take a back step for now because that is the least important thing on everyone's mind in the football world," the right-back said.

    "The health of family members and other people's family members is the most important.

    "But, I hope, and I am sure everybody else hopes, that football will come back and we will be able to finish off the season, but if it is not a possibility, then everyone does understand that people's health is more important than a game of sport."

    Walker discussed how City – who were second to Liverpool in the Premier League when the season was stopped – were keeping up team spirit using group chats.

    But the 29-year-old revealed manager Pep Guardiola, who donated €1million to the coronavirus fight in Spain, was not in the players' chat.

    "Obviously Pep is not in the group chat! I dropped him a text message last night saying hope you are OK, and I hope the family is well and fair play for donating the amount of money that you have donated," Walker said.

    "That says a lot about him as a person. Put football aside, that has come from his heart and it is something that should definitely be recognised."

  • Coronavirus: Hudson-Odoi feeling 'perfect' after COVID-19 recovery Coronavirus: Hudson-Odoi feeling 'perfect' after COVID-19 recovery

    Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is feeling perfect after recovering from the coronavirus.

    Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus last month, one of the events alongside the diagnosis of Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta that led to the Premier League going into shutdown.

    However, the 19-year-old only experienced minor symptoms.

    "I am feeling perfect," he told Chelsea's official website. "I had the virus, which has cleared now. I fully feel good, I feel fit, so I am feeling back to myself so it is all good.

    "I had it [the illness] three weeks ago now I think, on a Monday when I felt a bit hot and I was thinking this is a bit unusual, why do I feel this hot.

    "The next day I was feeling back to normal. I thought it was just a minor temperature thing, but obviously it wasn't. I said to myself this wasn't actually that bad, the symptoms, and I said to myself I feel good, I feel better.

    "Everything is happening so fast and I did not know this virus would be such a major thing and so big in the world and affect so many people.

    "Everyone has to be careful and judge things how they go and hopefully the virus will go soon and everyone will be back to normal."

    As part of football's response to the coronavirus pandemic, Euro 2020 has been pushed back 12 months – something of a motivating factor for England international Hudson-Odoi, who has struggled for form and fitness at times this season.

    "For me it is an opportunity to show again and keep pushing myself to the max to hopefully have an opportunity to go to the Euros," he added

    "The Euros is a massive thing and I have big belief in myself and hopefully I will be able to get into the team.

    "I just want to make sure that I keep pushing myself every game and every minute, making sure that I keep trying to score goals and make assists and keep trying to help the team as much as possible to get what we want, which is a trophy at the end of the day."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.