Bruno Fernandes and James Maddison have justified Manchester United transfer decision

Bruno Fernandes has signed a new contract with Manchester United. The 27-year-old midfielder has extended his stay at the club until 2026 after joining from Sporting CP in January 2020.

The timing of his deal is fitting considering this weekend’s opponents. The United will face Leicester City at Old Trafford, with James Maddison set to act as Fernandes’ equivalent for the Foxes.

When United made their move for the Portuguese international two years ago, Maddison was also on the club’s shortlist. He was prospering at the King Power Stadium and was tipped for a high-profile move to Manchester.

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United eventually opted for Fernandes instead and he’s certainly justified their investment. The attacking midfielder has scored 35 goals in the Premier League, registering a further 24 assists.

This season, only nine players in England’s top flight have attempted more shots than Fernandes, and nobody has generated more key passes, with those defined as passes that lead directly to shots. Maddison has encountered a series of struggles over the same period. Injury issues haven’t helped his cause, though he’s also underperformed at times under Brendan Rodgers.

United can have no complaints with the returns posted by Fernandes since he moved from his homeland to England. He’s consistently delivered and looks set to be integral to the team’s new start next season.

With players like Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani all possibly leaving the club in the summer – and the respective futures of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford uncertain – Fernandes could be one of the few experienced attackers in the building.

Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino are the two favourites to take over at Old Trafford in the summer, but no matter who occupies the dugout next season, it is reasonable to expect that Fernandes will be central to the team’s plans.

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