Bruno Fernandes is on the verge of signing a new five-year contract with Manchester United on hugely-improved terms.
Just months after he joined from Sporting in January 2020 and proved to be a transformative figure under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the club had already begun the process of drafting a deal that better reflected his influence at Old Trafford.
Talks between Fernandes’ representatives and United were placed on hold at the turn of the year but picked up again with a breakthrough in negotiations.
The Portugal international, currently involved in World Cup play-offs, is reportedly expected to double his weekly pay packet, shifting to £240,000 a week.
The initial deal Fernandes signed when switching from Sporting was for five-and-a-half years with the option of a further 12 months, so the aim is financially rewarding him rather than concern over his length of time.
News of the impending agreement on an improved contract stemmed in Fernandes’ homeland, where the development has been painted as a show of faith from the player in United despite uncertainty over the next permanent manager and the futures of several senior members of the squad.
The 27-year-old was the club’s standout player during his first 18 months at Old Trafford, but his form has significantly dipped this season.
‘Timing odd’ for new Fernandes deal with many other issues to sort
Analysis from Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy
Of all the matters Manchester United need to work through, tying down Bruno Fernandes on a new contract with improved terms would be far down the list.
The player’s current deal has three years to run with the option of a further 12 months, and the development purely revolves around financially rewarding him for his influence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and underlining his status in the squad.
It will be one less thing to tick off on United’s long to-do list, but it was not pressing. With the identity of the next permanent manager still unknown – whether he would see Fernandes as core as the new contract would reflect will be intriguing given the midfielder’s drop in form – and so many big question marks around the squad, the timing is odd.
While progress is being made on the dugout front, with Erik ten Hag formally interviewed over taking charge of the club, United need to have more certainty in place over the make-up of the team.
The attack and midfield need surgery, with the acceptance from the recruitment group that adding the right striker and anchor in the centre of the park is imperative.
Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata leave in the summer, while Marcus Rashford’s future is uncertain. The England international’s performances have been well below par, but while he can point to being played through injury as a semi-defence, Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have also been levels below expectation.
What happens with loaned-out pair Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek? Or Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic?
Then there is the Cristiano Ronaldo conundrum, as well as a clutch of deals that expire next summer.
When held up against the greater scheme of things, the Fernandes development is a small one.
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