Bruno Fernandes' wait for Manchester United's No 8 shirt nears an end

Bruno Fernandes’ long wait for Manchester United’s No 8 shirt nears an end as his ‘brother’ Juan Mata finally vacates his dream squad number after leaving the club

  • Bruno Fernandes’ wait to get the Manchester United No 8 could be over soon 
  • Juan Mata’s exit could give the Portuguese his preferred shirt number in summer
  • Fernandes has played in the No 18 shirt since his arrival from Sporting in 2020 
  • Mata is one of several midfielders to leave Old Trafford alongside Paul Pogba 

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ wait for his favoured No 8 shirt appears to be at an end with Juan Mata’s departure from Old Trafford.

Fernandes has declared his desire to have the shirt number since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020 and even has the number tattooed on his arm, but it has been occupied by Mata since 2014. 

Mata is one of several United midfielders leaving the club at the end of their contract, alongside Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, and club record signing Paul Pogba.

Bruno Fernandes has made it clear to Manchester United that he wants Juan Mata’s No 8 shirt

Fernandes was asked about his shirt number during a Twitter Q&A, saying: ‘I hope to get it one day….. but for now I hope to have my brother Juan Mata close to me.’

But he also revealed that his current shirt number, No 18, does still carry a certain significance.  

‘No 18 is also the birthday of my wife and another reason is, when I grew up, I saw Paul Scholes playing in it and for me having this shirt and this number of an amazing player is something I will enjoy. I have a lot of responsibility.’

‘The last three years I have played as No 8 because it’s the number my father had as a player and my birthday [date] and it’s the number I like.’ 

Fernandes has managed 50 goals and 39 assists in 126 games since joining in January 2020

Despite this preference, he has only actually played in the No 8 for his country for one season out of the 10 he has been playing senior international football, doing so in 2020/21.

Mata has occupied the No 8 shirt since 2014

Yet he looks set to get his wish for the Red Devils next season, as new manager Erik ten Hag sets out to rebuild his side after yet another disappointing season without a trophy.

United finished sixth last time out, only good enough to qualify for the Europa League alongside Arsenal, and ended up a massive 35 points behind bitter rivals Manchester City.

But Fernandes will be one of the players the Dutch manager will want to build his team around in his task to compete for titles alongside the likes of Liverpool and City.

Fernandes has been outstanding at times, and has managed double figures for both goals and assists in both full seasons he has spent at Old Trafford in all competitions.

Fernandes reveals the No 18 shirt is still significant to him, citing United legend Paul Scholes

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