On Wednesday, Manchester United announced it has reached an agreement with playmaking midfielder Bruno Fernandes as it aims to make a push for a top four spot in the Premier League and aid its inconsistent attack. United and Sporting Lisbon have agreed to a deal, pending personal terms and a medical.
Here's the club's statement:
Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Sporting Clube de Portugal for the transfer of Bruno Fernandes.
The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms.
A further announcement will be made in due course.
The transfer fee is for $60.4 million with up to $27 million more in potential add-ons, according to Fabrizio Romano of Sky Sports Italia.
Here's what to know about the player, the deal and the fit.
The 25-year-old, who stars for the Portuguese national team, will make the transition from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United just like Cristiano Ronaldo did when he was 18. Fernandes has spent most of his career in Italy with Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria, blowing up at Sporting as a goal-scoring midfielder. He had 16 goals in his first season at Sporting before grabbing a staggering 33 goals last season. He's already got 15 goals in 28 matches this season.
What he does well: He can score consistently and offers plenty of flexibility. He can be an attacking midfielder but can even play as a secondary striker, which he did often under former coach Jorge Jesus, who is now at Flamengo. He applies pressure well when it comes to defense, shows some quality on the ball when switching fields and playing to feet, and embraces the chances to attack one on one while possessing a strong shot from range.
What he doesn't do well: There isn't a whole lot he doesn't do well. He is not tasked with being aggressive on the defensive end, so when it comes to what he's asked to do, he excels. At times he can try to do too much, but that's common in players on weaker European teams that crave an attacking impact. If anything, the concern would be how he has just come out of nowhere and if he can keep that going at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Player's ceiling and floor
At best, he's a top level Premier League attacking midfielder who can come in and get double digit goals the rest of the season and get United into the top four. Long term, he's the start in the midfield. He could be the guy to provide consistent service to Marcus Rasahford when he returns from injury, but United needs more than Fernandes to fix their problems.
At worst, he never settles in at Old Trafford, doesn't adapt well to the pace of the English game and becomes just an average contributor for a club that continues to miss on transfers.
Grading the move
That's a massive transfer fee for a player who just a few years back was a little-known midfielder in Italy. He's certainly boosted his reputation greatly, but whether he's the engine in the midfield United needs remains to be seen. In this day and age of the transfer market, money talks. With the pressure on at United, it's a move they had to make. Grade: B