Manchester United ace Bruno Fernandes has revealed he could have actually ended up playing for a Premier League rival after Tottenham tried to sign him in 2019.
Fernandes spent time at Italian clubs Udinese and Sampdoria before joining Sporting Lisbon in summer 2017. He had a great spell in his native Portugal, registering 63 goals and 50 assists in 137 matches. He helped Sporting to win the Portuguese cup once, as well as the Portuguese league cup on two occasions.
The attacking midfielder had a particularly impressive season in 2018-19. 32 goals and 18 assists came his way, with 20 of those strikes occurring in the Primeira Liga.
This put some of Europe’s biggest clubs on alert. They are used to scouring Portugal for top talent – just look at the likes of Joao Felix, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leao.
Tottenham reportedly came in for Fernandes’ services in the summer of 2019. They even made a £58million bid for him, according to the Evening Standard.
However, this proposal was rejected by Sporting due to the ‘difficult’ structure of the deal.
Fernandes remained at Sporting until January 2020, when a Manchester United move went through. The Red Devils, then managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, spent an initial £47m on Fernandes. The deal rose to over £67m through add-ons, though.
The 28-year-old has now explained how things could have been far different for him in England, as he wanted to join Spurs before he was aware of United’s interest.
Bruno Fernandes details potential Spurs transfer
During a big new interview with The Athletic, Fernandes said: “Obviously, I wanted to go to the Premier League. The manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was the one who wanted me there. It was a good offer but Sporting tried their best to keep me.
“The president (Frederico Varandas) spoke with me but he spoke with me on the wrong day. It was the day after they decided to refuse the offer from Tottenham and I was really angry.
“Luckily for me, the manager (Marcel Keizer) was the right one at the right time.”
United fans will be incredibly grateful to Sporting for keeping Fernandes in Portugal an extra six months or so, as this allowed him to join their team instead. The star has been a huge hit among supporters since his arrival at Old Trafford.
He was brilliant during his first six months at United, and in his first full campaign there in 2020-21.
Star eyeing return to top form
Fernandes’ goals and assists have slowed down somewhat since. This term, he is on one goal and one assist from eight appearances. However, the Portugal international remains an integral part of the United setup. And Erik ten Hag is gradually getting the best out of him by playing Christian Eriksen just behind, in a deeper midfield role.
It’s interesting to hear that Pochettino is a big fan of Fernandes. They could have formed a great relationship at Spurs, had the player gone to north London. Instead, it is United who are benefitting from having him in their squad.
Fernandes appears happy at United as they are improving under Ten Hag, while he also gets to play with his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the Red Devils need to start matching his ambition if they are going to keep Fernandes. He is yet to win a trophy while giving the famous red shirt, something that needs to change this season or next.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Man Utd have set their sights on a player currently shining for Benfica.