It’s possible that Bruno Fernandes unintentionally kept Manchester United from signing one of the most impressive players of the Premier League thus far. After losing badly to one of their main rivals twice this past weekend, United is mired in eighth place in the standings with a goal differential of minus five. More doubts about Erik ten Hag’s suitability as manager were raised after his team was thrashed 3-0 by Manchester City at Old Trafford. Following the loss, Fernandes has also come under fire; former United captain Roy Keane has called for him to lose the captaincy
“After observing him once more today, I would 100% remove the captaincy from him,” Keane stated to Sky Sports. “I understand that this is a significant choice; with [Harry] Maguire, they altered the captaincy, but Fernandes is not a suitable captain.
“He is a talented player no doubt about it. But what I saw today – we’ve discussed many times before, it was last season at Liverpool – his whinging, his moaning and throwing his arms up in the air constantly.
It’s just not acceptable. Based on our observations today, I believe I would remove that from him.” Following the loss, a number of other United players have come under fire, including Mason Mount, who has found it difficult to contribute after joining for £60 million this summer from Chelsea. In eight games this season, Mount has managed just one assist and no goals. He came off the bench at halftime against City but had little effect on the game. Compared to his England teammates Jude Bellingham, James Maddison, and Declan Rice, who have all flourished since switching clubs this summer, Mount’s form is noticeably different.
With three goals and five assists for Tottenham, Maddison in particular has shown promise. Journalist Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News claims that United passed on Maddison, who was only worth £40 million to Spurs, because they thought he was too similar to Fernandes. Jude Bellingham is the greatest player in the world, Declan Rice is among the best, and James Madison, a colleague of Mount’s, has been the best player in the Premier League this season. Luckhurst wrote, “United did not approach any of those England midfielders.”