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"I don't want to leave" - Bruno Fernandes wants Man Utd stay on one condition

© Reuters
Bruno Fernandes insists that he wishes to stay at Manchester United this summer but wants the club's expectations to align with his own personal goals.

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes has reaffirmed his desire to stay at Old Trafford, but only if the club can match his expectations.

At an individual level, the 29-year-old has enjoyed another productive season in a Red Devils jersey with 15 goals and 12 assists from 47 appearances across all competitions.

Collectively, however, Erik ten Hag's men have experienced a dramatic decline from their applaudable 2022-23 campaign, failing to qualify for European football via their Premier League position.

A host of unwanted club records were either matched or broken as the Red Devils laboured to an eighth-placed finish in the top flight, suffering an alarming 14 defeats throughout the top-flight campaign.

Ten Hag's men also finished bottom of their Champions League group and ceded their EFL Cup crown with a whimper, leaving the manager's role clouded in severe uncertainty, but they could still end the season with a flourish by winning the FA Cup.

Manchester United attacker Bruno Fernandes on April 13, 2024© Reuters

Fernandes: 'I want to keep fighting for this club'

On Saturday, Man United will meet with Manchester City in a repeat of the 2023 final - which the Citizens won 2-1 - but Ten Hag's men will qualify for the Europa League if they can avenge that beating.

The Red Devils' Premier League and Champions League failures have triggered intense speculation surrounding the future of Fernandes, who is thought to be wanted by Bayern Munich and Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr.

The former Sporting Lisbon man is still contracted to the club until the summer of 2026 with the option of a further 12 months, though, and in an open letter to fans, he stressed that he still sees his future at Man United but wants the club's vision to align with his own.

"I love to step out at Old Trafford more than anything in the world. I don't want to leave. This has always been my ultimate dream," Fernandes wrote. "I just want my expectations to fit with the expectations of the club.

"If you go talk to any fan, they will tell you the same thing. We want to compete for the league. We want to be playing Champions League football. We want to be in cup finals. That is the standard. That is what I want. That is what you all deserve. I just want to keep fighting. I want to be here. My family wants to be here."

Can Man United afford to let Fernandes leave?

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes on February 28, 2024© Reuters

For all of his masterful traits on the ball, Fernandes's antics off it have often caused a stir for the wrong reasons, and whether he is truly captain material for a club like Man United is a debate that often rages during the season.

However, there is absolutely no questioning the 29-year-old's importance to Ten Hag's side from a playing sense - underscored by a total of 79 goals and 65 assists from 232 games in the famous strip since arriving in 2020.

The heartbeat of the side, Fernandes always ranks highly when it comes to playmaking metrics in the Premier League, and the 2023-24 season was no different for the Portugal international, in spite of Man United's team troubles.

No player created more chances than Fernandes's 114 in the top flight, while 11.8 Expected Assists was the joint-highest of its kind too, level with Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah in that regard.

Rarely absent through injury either - which is more than can be said for Mason Mount - Fernandes is indispensable to Man United, who would do well to meet his expectations lest they risk losing their most vital outfielder.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024
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