It might have taken a long time to be completed, but Manchester United’s signing of Bruno Fernandes quickly began to look like one of this season’s best pieces of business.
While the player himself insisted he was not responsible for an upturn in form that saw the Red Devils go 11 games unbeaten in all competitions, few can deny the impact he has made since joining in January for an initial fee of £46.5million (€55m).
In fact, his form saw him rewarded with the Premier League Player of the Month award for February, making him the first United player since Anthony Martial to win the prize for the month of his debut.
The 25-year-old was also the first Portuguese player to win the award since Chelsea midfielder Deco in August 2008.
Fernandes will be under pressure to pick up where he left off with the Premier League provisionally scheduled to return on June 17, three months after the coronavirus pandemic forced its suspension.
As Opta data shows, he certainly looks like the man who could fire United back into next season’s Champions League…
5 – Since his debut on February 1, Fernandes has been involved in five Premier League goals, scoring twice and assisting a further three. No other player can match that tally over the same period. The closest are Mohamed Salah (four goals), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (three goals, one assist), Diogo Jota (three goals, one assist), Robert Snodgrass (two goals, two assists), Sadio Mane (three goals, one assist) and Nicolas Pepe (one goal, three assists).
3 – Indeed, no player has managed more Premier League assists since February 1 than Fernandes. Pepe, Roberto Firmino and Ross Barkley are the other players on three.
19 – Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fernandes is top of the charts for attempted shots since his debut. He has recorded 19, as many as Raul Jimenez and Jay Rodriguez and more than Calvert-Lewin and Salah (both 17).
11 – Fernandes has created 11 chances for team-mates (including assists), the same number as Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Ondrej Duda and Andrew Robertson. Only three players have recorded more since his debut: Joao Moutinho (12), Dwight McNeil (13) and James Maddison (16).
20 – Fernandes is the 20th different United player to win a Premier League Player of the Month award. That tally is the joint-best in the competition, alongside Arsenal.