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Bruno Fernandes hails ‘excellent’ striker Man United like, 43 goals in 50 games

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Given Bruno Fernandes’ fondness for speaking out publicly about the players he admires, Manchester United supporters have been given an extra glimpse into some of the club’s summer transfer targets of late.

The Red Devils skipper could hardly be more complimentary of Joao Neves; the 19-year-old Benfica wonderkid who tends to appear almost daily in social media photographs alongside Bruno Fernandes these days.

Manchester United‘s FA Cup winning captain has opened up on his admiration for Goncalo Inacio too. Left-footed centre-half who has struck up quite an understanding with Fernandes on the international stage.

Unlike Neves and Inacio, Viktor Gyokeres will not be leading Portugal’s Euro 2024 charge alongside Fernandes. But the former Sporting Lisbon talisman is equally complementary about a man who has taken up the mantle of star man at the Estadio Jose Alvalde, firing Ruben Amorim’s side to a second Primeira Liga title in the space of three years.

Sporting Lisbon's Swedish forward #09 Viktor Gyokeres celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Portuguese league football match be...

Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United like Sporting Lisbon’s Viktor Gyokeres

“He had an excellent year in the Championship (in 2022/23). He was the second top scorer,” Fernandes tells Sport TV of Gyokeres, prolific at Coventry City and even more so at Sporting.

“His name was already mentioned, but the possibilities he had to go to the Premier League were not as ambitious as going to Sporting.”

Gyokeres was, at the time, linked with the likes of Everton and Wolves before sealing a £20 million move to Lisbon. His price-tag has increased four-fold since then, Sporting reluctant to accept any bids lower than his £86 million release clause.

“Playing in the Premier League is ambitious. But between a mid-table club and Sporting, you would probably choose Sporting, where you can be champion, play in European competitions…” Fernandes adds.

“It was the right step for him, to show an even higher level than he had shown in the Championship. He made a big difference in the title race. He gave different things to Sporting which Sporting didn’t have (before).”

  • READ MORE: Who is Bruno Fernandes? Inside the life of Manchester United’s Portuguese Magnifico

United want a striker this summer

A staggering tally of 43 goals and 15 assists in 50 games understandably has Gyokeres back in the gossip columns. Premier League interest has returned with a vengeance, albeit amongst the likes of Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United rather than Everton and Wolves.

HITC understands that Erik ten Hag‘s side joined the race in April, Dan Ashworth knowing the Swede well from their time together at Brighton and Hove Albion.

A striker is a necessity at Old Trafford this summer. Rasmus Hojlund, now the club’s only natural number nine. Gyokeres, a fearsome blend of pace, power and precision, certainly ticks a lot of boxes. But perhaps not the most important one of all; the ‘affordability’ box.

Man United’s Financial Fair Play concerns mean the Red Devils will likely have to place Gyokeres on the backburner for now in favour of a cheaper – if not necessarily less talented – alternative. Jonathan David, Ivan Toney and Joshua Zirkzee should all be available for less, ranging between £30 million and £60 million.

Gyokeres, meanwhile, appears in no rush to leave Sporting after just one season in Portugal.

“This season was perfect with Gyokeres finishing Sporting’s moves,” former Man United winger Nani told Sport TV’s Titulares programme recently.

“He scored a lot of goals. I think he was the team’s key player because you have to score goals to win games.

“It was a find. Sporting have an eye for finding a special players.”

  • READ MORE: Who is Rasmus Hojlund? Inside the life of Manchester United’s dynamic Danish forward

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