Manchester United is reportedly interested in signing Gedson Fernandes. The Benfica midfielder fell out with his coach Bruno Lage and the player’s representatives are said to be in the UK to prepare for a January move.
Sky Sports News reports that Fernandes, who has not appeared in Benfica’s last seven games, will be offered in a loan agreement with a £ 34m option to buy.
The Portuguese national team’s release clause is £ 102 million, but the club accepts that they will not receive an offer of this magnitude while Fernandes is out of the ordinary.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke openly about United’s desire to buy only players who fit the club’s philosophy.
The Norwegian is eager to bring players closer to the height of their career, eager to play for the Red Devils.
More urgently, United needs reinforcements in midfield, where it has recently lost players.
Neither Marouane Fellaini nor Ander Herrera have been replaced, leaving Solskjaer with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic as central midfield options.
The United boss tends to play two No 6s with a more advanced director, usually Jesse Lingard or Andreas Pereira later on.
The long absence of Pogba this season, due to an ankle injury, has led Fred and McTominay to develop a good relationship ahead of four.
Matic has been omitted from the starting XI whenever possible given that he has no mobility and is expected to be moved to the end of the season once the contract has expired.
Fernandes, who overtook Benfica’s youth rankings, made only 28 appearances in Primeira Liga in his career, 14 of which made it to the conventional central midfield.
It was also used later as No 10 and on both sides, but is more comfortable near the central circle.
Consequently, in order to accommodate Pogba in the formation, Solskjaer can move to a three-man midfield with two No 8s, supported by a pivot.
Fred or McTominay could play role no. 6, as both have previously done, to free Pogba and Fernandes for attack duties.
McTominay’s knee ligament damage would most likely see Fred take that position if Fernandes were to arrive in January.
Fernandes hasn’t scored in 28 league games for Benfica since his debut last season, but has provided three assists.
If the 20-year-old sees a long-term future at Old Trafford, it will be the key to United’s decision to launch.
Solskjaer said earlier this season: “When you attract players you need the right ones who will stay here for a longer period. This is the long-term thinking that we need to show.
“I can’t think,” I need a player because that’s my reputation. “No, it’s the club.”
Man Utd sides with Gedson Fernandes
(4-3-3): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Fernandes, Pogba; James, Martial, Rashford.