Bruno Fernandes has revealed his admiration for the Premier League’s top two sides from this past season, amid heavy links between the Sporting CP star and the English top-flight.
Fernandes, a gifted attack-minded midfielder, made the return to his home country of Portugal with Sporting in the summer of 2017, after a 5-year stint in Italy.
And to say that the 24-year-old has since gone on to establish himself as a key contributor at the José Alvalade Stadium would be putting it lightly.
Fernandes’ combination of eye for goal, set-piece prowess, creative flair and penchant for the spectacular have seen him emerge as one of Portuguese football’s leading talents over the last two seasons.
After directly contributing to over 30 goals across all competitions during his debut Sporting campaign, Fernandes subsequently took his game to another level again this past season, on his way to an eye-catching 28 goals and 14 assists.
Bruno Fernandes in Primeira Liga this season:
👕 30 games
🔑 96 chances created
💪 38 tackles
⚡️ 29 dribbles
⚽️ 16 goals
🅰️ 12 assists
Manchester City are close to signing the Sporting CP midfielder, per A Bola! 👀 pic.twitter.com/3mE5igJogT
— Goal (@goal) May 1, 2019
Imminent Man City switch?
As such, the 11-time capped international’s standout showings in the Portuguese capital have inevitably begun to catch the eye of some of European football’s biggest clubs.
Of the sides named as serious suitors of Fernandes, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City have been the most persistently-touted as potential destinations.
The race for Fernandes’ signature, though, appeared to have come to a close last month, when it was widely-reported that Pep Guardiola’s City had agreed a 55 million Euro deal with Sporting:
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) May 6, 2019
‘Got it wrong’
Such claims, however, were definitively shut down just days later, as it came to light that the Premier League champions were in fact not in negotiations over Fernandes:
Jesus, seems I got it wrong on Bruno Fernandes! City insist they’re *not* in for him. Apologies for the duff information 😬😳
— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) May 9, 2019
Fernandes full of praise for PL’s giants
Nevertheless, though, the links between Fernandes and the Premier League have persisted.
And, speaking in an interview with De Cadeirinha, the Sporting star has since gone on to reveal his admiration not only for English champions City, but also runners-up to the throne Liverpool.
On Guardiola’s Citizens, Fernandes gushed:
‘Pep Guardiola has made the best of the players in the team. He knew that it was going to be difficult in England and he adapted.’
‘It’s a City that plays, more or less, in the way of Barcelona. But not just because the championship is different, the intensity is different, the aggressiveness is different, the competition is different and he knew how to change it.’
‘City, without the ball, has the intensity of the XI. [They] can in a moment of pressure put the [opposing] team in a corner, in block, and ends up stealing the ball.’
Moving on to Liverpool, the Portuguese international admitted that he prefers the ‘direct’ style showcased by the recently-crowned Champions League winners, compared to the more measured approach of City:
‘I like Liverpool a lot more. It’s a more direct, more offensive, maybe less organised, but more intense football. When you do not have the ball possession you are more intense.’
‘In Liverpool they are more individual players, especially in the midfield, usually playing three very aggressive players and recovering the ball. Then they have three players at the front who are lethal. When they have the opportunity, to be the difference.’