Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has admitted that he was left “very angry” after his proposed switch from Sporting Lisbon to Tottenham Hotspur fell through in 2019.
The 28-year-old scored 63 goals and provided 50 assists in 137 appearances for Sporting across all competitions between June 2017 and January 2020, and he was voted the Primeira Liga’s Player of the Year on two occasions.
Fernandes’s impressive form in his native Portugal caught the eye of a number of top European club’s including Mauricio Pochettino‘s Spurs, who failed with a bid to sign the midfielder in August 2019.
Tottenham instead spent a club-record fee on Tanguy Ndombele that summer and they also recruited Giovani Lo Celso on loan with an obligation to buy – both players failed to reach the heights expected in North London and left the club on loan last month, joining Napoli and Villarreal respectively.
Fernandes, meanwhile, eventually got his dream move to the Premier League at the beginning of 2020, joining Man United in a deal rising to around £67m including add-ons.
However, the former Udinese and Sampdoria man has revealed that he was keen to join Tottenham before learning of United’s interest and was frustrated that a move to North London collapsed.
Speaking to The Athletic, Fernandes said: “Obviously I wanted to go to the Premier League. The manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was the one who wanted me there. It was a good offer but Sporting tried their best to keep me.”
“The president (Frederico Varandas) spoke with me but he spoke with me on the wrong day. It was the day after they decided to refuse the offer from Tottenham and I was really angry.
“Luckily for me, the manager (Marcel Keizer) was the right one at the right time.”
Fernandes added: “At the beginning of January (2020), my agent said, ‘You don’t need to worry, because any time I bring you a club, it will be a dream club for you’. He knew that the dream club was Man United.”
The 46-cap Portugal international has revealed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a major influence in his decision to join the Red Devils and feels that the Norwegian viewed his persistent “moaning” as a sign of passion.
“Ole was a big part of that (moving to Man United) because he actually went to see my games,” Fernandes added. “He saw me moaning a lot in that game against Porto — I moaned a lot against their players, against the referees.”
“I moan against everyone who is against me, not those who are with me. Ole saw someone that was passionate and it helped him sign me for the club.
“On my first day, he said to me, ‘Just be yourself’. He said, ‘I know what you are capable of with the ball but I also want you to be the leader you have been at Sporting’.”
Fernandes excelled during his first 18 months at Man United, scoring 40 goals and providing 25 assists in 80 appearances across all tournaments.
The midfielder’s performance levels dipped along with the rest of his teammates last season, but he still managed to record 10 goals and 14 assists in 46 games.
Fernandes has since contributed with only one goal and one assist in eight matches so far this term, and he will be hoping to improve his attacking output for the Red Devils when they return to action after the international break, with rivals Manchester City up next on October 2.