Man Utd have their own Philippe Coutinho who Erik ten Hag could be better off selling | Football | Sport

Man Utd have their own Philippe Coutinho who Erik ten Hag could be better off selling | Football | Sport

Fernandes was nothing short of a sensation when he signed for United in January 2020, notching 15 goal contributions in his first 14 Premier League games. He made a struggling side tick going forward and his exploits continued in 2020/21, hitting 18 goals and 12 assists in the league alone.

Things have slowed down of late, however, and he hasn’t been able to freeze with his team-mates in the same way that electrified Old Trafford soon after his arrival. Ultimately, a disappointing haul of just one league goal this term suggests that Fernandes may have already peaked for the Red Devils.

The Portuguese was substituted against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday night with the score at 1-1 and his replacement, Anthony Martial, scored a superb goal within seconds of coming on. In Fernandes’ absence, United went on to win the game 3-2.

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Tottenham were big fans before he went to United in 2020 and Fernandes recently spoke out about his disappointment when the move to north London failed to materialise. “The manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was the one who wanted me there. It was a good offer but Sporting tried their best to keep me,” he told The Athletic. “The president spoke with me but he spoke with me on the wrong day. It was the day after they decided to refuse the offer from Tottenham and I was really angry [but] luckily for me, the manager [Marcel Keizer] was the right one at the right time.”

The situation bears some similarities to that of Liverpool hero Coutinho, who was a sensation at Anfield after signing from Inter Milan in 2013. A haul of 20 league goals in his final season-and-a-half convinced Barcelona to part with massive money in 2018 and the Reds decided that the time was right to cash in.

Klopp’s side were vindicated when Coutinho’s career slumped after his move to the Camp Nou. A series of underwhelming campaigns saw him shipped off to Bayern Munich on loan before he moved to Aston Villa on a permanent deal this summer.

Nine goalless appearances since continue to make Liverpool’s decision look like a good one, particularly given that they collected a massive £146m in the process.

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