By Preye Campbell
It is not so often you get to see a buzz at Old Trafford these days. Since the curtain fell on Sir Alex Ferguson’s glittering career, it has been a series of ups and downs for Manchester United.
What’s probably worse is that turbulent times for the Red Devils have come in the mould of supposedly marquee signings turning out to be money well-wasted by the club.
From Marouane Fellaini to Angel Di Maria , from Radamel Falcao to Memphis Depay, it has been doom and gloom for a club once characterized by legendary footballers all over the pitch. United have thus been waiting for someone to lift the gloom around Stretford End, someone who’ll breathe not just passion but entice a fearless spirit and footballing bravado that has been much missed for a while.
That prayer got answered in January. Like any player linked with the Red Devils these days, a lot was mentioned about Bruno Fernandes. First, it had to do with the player’s valuations; a £62 million fee was seen as a normal fee in today’s inflated transfer market and a meaningful price for a player who was the heart of a certain Sporting Lisbon’s
It was perhaps surprising then as to why the United hierarchy dilly-dallied in getting the deal done. Maybe it had to do with the uncertainty surrounding Frenchman, Paul Pogba, maybe it was with the uncertainty around the United board, maybe it was the media’s stories about Fernandes not being able to fit in United’s ‘style’, but whatever it was, summer came and left without United and Fernandes coming to an agreement.
After a first-half painted with inconsistency from the Red Devils and a long-term injury to Pogba, United got the Portugese ace in January. Now, at Stretford End, you’ll hear the fans chanting , ‘Bruno, Bruno Magnifico’ and you can’t argue further.
Commanding displays from his first game against Wolverhamoton Wanderers, beautiful link-up plays to the forward line, an outstanding 3 goals and 4 assists in 9 games in all competitions and Fernandes is the man of the hour.
The present United side had missed someone of his qualities, someone who can transform and inspire a team the way he has inspired United to an 11-game unbeaten run. His form has seen a resurgent United team that looks solid enough to challenge for the FA Cup and the Europa League and also get a top four finish.
Much of United’s recent performances have seen Fernandes’ presence and the improvement of other players. The entire midfield have been nothing short of their best of late, Martial is having his best season yet and in Odion Ighalo, they have got adequate cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.
Fernandes’ inspired start to life saw him scoop up the Premier League’s Player of the Month for February and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t have been more pleased with his new signing- given that he stands in the way of a potential summer sack of the Norwegian.
Whether this is all a fluke remains to be seen in actuality and the coming months will give us more on United’s latest star player.
Till then however, we wait and listen to the voices at Stretford End, chanting; ‘Bruno, Bruno Magnifico’.