Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag might have a conundrum on his hands in the near future, with one of football’s giants reportedly homing sights on their offensive focal point.
With United winning the race to sign the Portuguese maestro back in January 2020, signing him from Sporting Lisbon for a total of £68m, Madrid have seemingly returned for the player, with scouts observing his progress at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
And with two goals and two assists in two fixtures thus far, Fernandes is only going to return rave reports and likely heightened interest, with Madrid known to delve into the market for starring figures at the esteemed competition.
Fernandes’ presence has somewhat waned recently for the Red Devils, with the usually prolific playmaker only clinching three goals and assists across 20 fixtures for his club this term.
However his stunning displays on the international stage have been a timely reminder that his calibre is still at the very top of the game, and United must rebuff advances for his services and keep him in England’s North West.
And if the hierarchy was not already convinced, a glance back at their past travails should certainly be enough to remind United of the chasm they would leave in their midst should they grant Fernandes an exit.
Ander Herrera, for example, was sorely missed after departing the club for Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, having won the Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup during his five-year stay, earning the club’s 2016/17 Player of the Season.
His stability and robust presence in midfield could not be remedied for some time, with the club still searching for the first piece of silverware since his departure.
United might be creeping towards an ostensibly better standing, with murky waters starting to clear under Ten Hag, but the void that Fernandes would leave could unravel the progress like a loose ball of thread.
Having scored 53 goals and served 42 assists across 146 appearances for United, he has been a devastating weapon at times for his club, and despite his recent dip in goals and assists, will surely find another purple patch soon, if his World Cup displays are anything to go by.
The £240k-per-week magician is finding his feet once again, and United would certainly rue the day they accepted any bids for their “magnifico”, with his talismanic presence invaluable for a side looking to return to the upper echelon of European football.