Manchester United are worried that Bruno Fernandes is suffering from the pressure of being their go-to man and brought in Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani in hope of taking some weight off the Portugal playmaker’s shoulders, according to reports.
Fernandes has been a brilliant addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side since swapping Sporting Lisbon for United back in January.
The 26-year-old came at a cost with United agreeing to pay an initial £47million which could rise up to around £68m after add-ons.
But he has maintained the form he enjoyed in Portugal to contribute 14 goals and 10 assists in 26 matches across all competitions, albeit with 10 of his goals coming from the penalty spot.
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Yet Portuguese newspaper O Jogo claim that United are harbouring concerns about their reliance on Fernandes.
It is claimed the Premier League heavyweights are worried about the physical and mental workload on the attacking midfielder.
There are concerns about his sharpness in particular given his lack of real rest amid a hectic fixture schedule since the Premier League’s restart in June.
United are said to be keeping a close eye on the Portugal international as they look to return to better form after a poor start to the season.
While Fernandes has two goals and an assist in two top-flight matches, United have suffered two defeats in that time.
Their 6-1 Old Trafford hammering at the hands of Tottenham last weekend followed a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in their opening match of the new campaign.
And O Jogo say that United’s busy end to the summer transfer window was in part to help ease the pressure on Fernandes to be the team’s attacking talisman.
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Solskjaer added attack-minded left-back Alex Telles to the side from Porto and also recruited veteran striker Edinson Cavani on a free after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired earlier in the summer.
United hope that the duo can help share some of the burden to drive Solskjaer’s side up the pitch.
Deals were also struck for teenage wingers Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo worth in the region of £10m and £37m respectively.
Uruguayan Pellistri could be an immediate first-team option but Ivory Coast’s Diallo will not join United until January.
Donny van de Beek, signed for £40m from Ajax, is another whom United will presumably hope can share Fernandes’ workload.
The Dutchman has yet to start a league match but did score in the loss to Palace after coming off the bench late on.
Meanwhile, new boy Telles revealed that he spoke to Fernandes before moving to United.
The left-back played against Fernandes in Portugal with Porto and Sporting rivals at the top end of the Primeira Liga table.
Telles said: “I believe I’m going to meet a marvellous group.
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“I’ve spoken to Bruno Fernandes and he’s said how welcoming the boys are. I believe I will settle very well into the group.”
On how he help Fernandes at the business end of the pitch, he added: “I like to think of myself as a very intelligent player, a set-piece specialist and I’m always looking for opportunities to create passes to score goals.
“I look at being a defender in a different way with my goals. I’m looking to create more openings wherever possible but during training I also pay particular attention to set-piece training.
“Apart from the key basics of being a defender, which is obviously about defending well, I want to have extra aspects to my game so I’m a versatile player.
“I have great beliefs in my defensive capabilities but also in my attacking ability.
“I’m in the best moment of my career and I believe I’ve grown a lot, and hopefully I can continue to do so.”
Telles could make his debut after the international break away at Newcastle (Saturday 17 October, 3pm kick-off). He will first hope to be involved for Brazil in World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru.
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