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Louis Saha: Manchester United 'Made a Mistake' by Not Signing Bruno Fernandes

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2019

Sporting's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes reacts during the Portuguese League football match between Sporting Lisbon and Braga at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon on August 18, 2019. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/Getty Images

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has said the Red Devils made an error by not signing Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was tipped to bring the Portugal international to the Premier League, but no official bid was tabled for the attacker.

Speaking to Portuguese newspaper Record (h/t Jake Polden of the Mirror), Saha said the club "made a mistake" by not luring the talented goalscorer to Manchester, and he was critical of United's failure to sign a creative player this summer.

"Bruno Fernandes is a player of great technical quality who could be extremely decisive at various points in United's game. But more than that, he's a born leader and that's what Manchester United are missing this season. Only time can tell, but judging from everything that has happened… United made a mistake by not buying Bruno Fernandes and not signing a creative midfield player."

Fernandes started the new season in top form for Sporting, bagging three assists in Sunday's 3-1 away win over Portimonense in Liga NOS.

Sporting shared the third goal on Twitter, highlighting Fernandes' vision and technique:

Sporting Clube de Portugal @SportingCPen

#PSCSCP | Here's how Raphinha scored our third goal of the match after THAT assist by Bruno Fernandes. #DiaDeSporting #LigaNOS https://t.co/IGSXnpmFjp

Per Polden, Sporting wanted £70 million for their talisman over the summer, but Solskjaer ended up signing Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to strengthen his defence. The United manager also opted to recruit Swansea City's burgeoning talent Daniel James to add pace to his squad. 

Fernandes has been one of the most consistent attacking players in Europe since 2017-18. Over this period, the Portuguese has scored 39 goals and provided 30 assists. His numbers are outstanding.

Saha added United should not have been put off signing the player because of a deserved price tag, per Record.

"He's undoubtedly a huge player, and his market value should not be impeding for a club like Man United," Saha said. "In addition, Sporting have the right to ask whatever they want for one of their most valuable assets. Bruno Fernandes was impressive last season.

FARO, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 04: Ruben Dias of SL Benfica (L) and Odysseas Vlachodimos of SL Benfica (R) stops Bruno Fernandes of Sporting CP (C) kick during the match between SL Benfica and Sporting CP for Portuguese SuperCup at Estadio Algarve on August 4, 2
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

United started the Premier League campaign with all guns blazing during a 4-0 defeat of Chelsea, but Saturday's 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford has tempered expectations once more.

The Red Devils had plenty of attacking prowess against Palace, but they lacked a creative force that could open the door against a rigid opponent. Solskjaer's team is a work in progress, and with Paul Pogba starting the season deeper in midfield, United may suffer the repetitive issue of failing to open up defences.