Why Bruno Fernandes would thrive in the Premier League
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 29/06/19 10:30pm
With Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes being the subject of intense transfer speculation during the summer window, Portuguese football expert Felipe Dias provides insight into what the future may hold for him.
The 24-year-old has previously been linked with Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, with Manchester United now heading the queue to sign the Portugal international, according to newspaper reports.
His 32 goals in 50 games from midfield for Sporting last term has made him one of the most sought-after players in Europe.
Speaking on the latest edition of the Transfer Talk podcast, Dias answered some pressing questions around Fernandes and a potential move to the Premier League.
How would Fernandes adapt to the Premier League?
"I have no doubt that Fernandes can thrive in the Premier League. This guy can play with and against the best of them.
"I've been a journalist for 20 years and watched football for as long as I can remember - I have never seen a player do what Bruno Fernandes did last season.
"We're talking about an offensive centre midfielder who scored 32 goals. Even in domestic Portuguese football and the Europa League, which admittedly isn't the most glamourous, you cannot deny his talent.
"He is already a ready-made player for the Premier League in my opinion. He is a leader on the pitch, a natural born passer and a deadly finisher with either foot. He is quick, strong and has good positioning.
"He played in Italy for a little while which helped (develop) his tactical sense. I don't have a bad word to say about him as a footballer. At 24 years old, why he has not been transferred yet is the big question."
Why is his contract situation complicating a move?
"Bruno Fernandes is one of the players who rescinded his contract a year ago when Sporting's academy was attacked by a group of hooligans. They assaulted the players and are now serving jail time.
"The president of the time was sacked by the associates, they voted him out. The new president who only took charge for a short amount of time tried everything to persuade some of the players to come back.
"Some of the players agreed to return, Fernandes being one of those. No one expected to perform in such a fantastic way because he had to sign a new contract and his market value just skyrocketed.
"Now he is the key to the whole mess. There's a clause in his new contract that states that Sporting will have to pay €5m (to Fernandes) if they reject anything over a €35m bid for him.
"No agents will jeopardise their relationship with a big club by making them pay €50-60m for a player who could have cost just €35m.
"Guys like Jorge Mendes won't get involved in this type of affair and he is the one that made the Joao Felix deal possible.
"This leaves Bruno Fernandes stuck, really."
Have there been any bids?
"As far as I know there is not even a serious bid for him. The clubs are hesitant to do a deal for him.
"He deserves a move, the top clubs in England have all been linked, Spurs, Manchester City and Manchester United.
"It's still a bit of a mystery. With or without Jorge Mendes - the guy that makes everything happen - being involved, his season was so fantastic that he should have been sold already.
"Sporting can't afford to sell him cheap because they would be the laughing stock with Benfica having sold Felix for €120m - and he only has six months of top-level football.
"The market is crazy like this."
Will he be at Sporting next season?
Sporting manager Marcel Keizer admitted it will be difficult to keep midfielder Bruno Fernandes at the club, telling Record: "I want Bruno Fernandes to stay, but everyone knows the current situation.
"It's going to be difficult to keep him going, he's on vacation, we'll see what happens."
Dias says he does not expect the 24-year-old to stay in Lisbon this summer.
"Sporting's president also said this week that there would be no drama and that the club are prepared to keep or sell, but they will not sell him for €35m. The fans also demand this.
"I honestly don't believe that Bruno Fernandes will stay, it is my opinion."