Bruno Fernandes: Revisiting the 6 alternatives Man Utd chased in 2020

Since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, Bruno Fernandes has made quite the name for himself at Manchester United, but they did have some alternative targets in mind at the time.

The Portuguese playmaker has made 180 appearances for United across all competitions and has scored 61 goals in that time. While he winds up plenty of opposition fans, he is a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

We’ve taken a look back at United in the 2020 January transfer window and have picked out six players they targeted before getting a deal over the line for Fernandes.

Fabian Ruiz

Napoli reportedly valued the Spanish midfielder at £150million during the 2020 January window, which eventually put United off. He was in fine form at the time to be fair and had also attracted interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid.

His price tag was deemed too high and he instead stuck around at Napoli for two seasons. After running his contract down with the Italian club, he eventually joined PSG in the summer of 2022 for just £20million.

Todd Cantwell

It might seem strange now, but Cantwell was hot property back in 2020. The dynamic creative midfielder was having a fine season with Norwich and had attracted interest from plenty of Premier League clubs, reportedly including United.

A move didn’t materialise in the end and he struggled to replicate the same form he showcased in 2019-20. He is now building his career back up with Rangers in Scotland.

To be fair, Cantwell did look like a baller at the time.

Jack Grealish

Prior to donning the blue of Manchester City, United wanted to snap up Grealish. By this point, he had already showcased he could cut it in the Premier League and was running the show for Aston Villa.

Had United snapped him up at the time, he would have cost significantly less than the £100million City eventually splashed out on him.

“I was really close to going [to United], but nothing happened in the end,” Grealish told the Daily Telegraph. Grealish linking up with Paul Pogba in the middle would have been fun to say the least.

Sean Longstaff

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to add more young English talents to his side in 2020 and Longstaff ended up on their radar. The Newcastle youngster had only just broken into the first team, but United had already seen enough to put a bid in.

Reports at the time claimed United made a bid of around £25million, which was only half of Longstaff’s valuation according to Newcastle. The move didn’t transpire in the end which was probably best for both parties.

Kai Havertz

Havertz has been a real opinion splitter at Chelsea, but he could have ended up in Manchester back in 2020. Nine months prior to making his move to Stamford Bridge, the German forward was on United’s radar.

It’s worth remembering that at the time, Havertz was one of the most promising players in Europe. He was ripping things up in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen and the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich were also interested.

In the end, Chelsea snapped him up for £62million, which isn’t that bad when you consider he scored the winning goal in a Champions League final.

James Maddison

Three years on and United are still being linked with Maddison. Their original interest in the Leicester City playmaker came around the start of 2020 as United were looking for a Jesse Lingard replacement.

The 26-year-old is expected to leave Leicester this summer and he could well end up in Manchester after all.

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