Bruno Fernandes represents a £65 million ($85m) gamble for Manchester United and will be expected to “hit the ground running” as the Red Devils’ version of Kevin De Bruyne, says Paul Parker.
Those at Old Trafford are in the process of trying to get a big-money deal over the line with Sporting for a Portugal international playmaker.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are considered to be in need of inspiration in that area of the field, especially as World Cup winner Paul Pogba remains sidelined through injury.
Fernandes could prove to be the answer, but Parker feels there are doubts over his ability to slot seamlessly into Premier League life and deliver on the expectation which will accompany a hefty price tag.
The former United defender told Gambling.com: “He did OK at Udinese and Sampdoria but ended up back in Portugal.
“Maybe he was homesick or didn’t enjoy his time in Italy, I don’t know. Perhaps he wants to try going abroad again and prove a point.
“For £65 million, United may have got themselves a bargain – in this day and age anyway – but we can’t be fully sure.
“When he comes to Manchester United, the moment he turns up he’s got to be as creative as anyone else in the Premier League, that’s the expectancy.
“He’s really going to have to hit the ground running and be like United’s own Kevin De Bruyne, because he is going to be judged from the very first minute he starts playing for the club.
“The only thing is, if you were to put De Bruyne in the United team right now he would struggle because he would be the only creative player in the team – he needs other people to work with him.
“So I’m not so sure we’ll see Fernandes at his very best right away because he might not have the right players around him.
“The good thing is, though, he should strike up a good rapport with Fred because they can both speak the same language.
“OK, one will be speaking Brazilian-Portuguese, but they should still be on the same wavelength and perhaps he can help bring something extra to Fred’s game.
“It’ll be interesting, but he can’t expect to come to United and be given time to settle in, that doesn’t happen at Manchester United.”
While waiting to see what Fernandes can potentially offer in the engine room, Parker also feels that United need to be tweaking their plans up front despite getting flashes of brilliance from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
The ex-England international added: “They definitely do need something different up front.
“Anthony Martial tries, but one good performance in six just isn’t good enough.
“We need consistent performances from him where he is seen as a threat, but that doesn’t materialise enough from Martial. And the problem he has is that Rashford is at his best on that left side, he likes to cut inside onto his right and he does it very well.
“Martial wants to play that side too but Rashford does it better and more consistently than him.”
United will need to be at their best as a collective in their next Premier League outing, with Solskjaer’s side set to take in a daunting trip to Liverpool on Sunday.