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Rafael Benitez has told The Times that he wanted to sign Bruno Fernandes when he was in charge of Newcastle United.

Benitez was the manager of Newcastle from March 2016 until the summer of 2019, while Fernandes played for Sporting Lisbon from 2017 until January 2020 when he moved to United.

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The Spaniard told The Times: “Bruno Fernandes was a player we were following at Newcastle United. He was at Sporting Lisbon and he had an issue with his club. There was a chance he could leave on a free.

“We were progressing but the problem was that the matter would go to court and that would complicate it. The club didn’t want that. He has been crucial for United. He changed everything with the way he is playing — assists and goals.

“He has personality. He tries to look for the right passes. In recent games, I saw him going to press with determination and intensity.”

What a signing for Manchester United

Fernandes has been superb for United, and there is no doubt that he would been brilliant for Newcastle.

The Portugal international attacking midfielder scores goals, created chances, and is a leader in the middle of the park.

It is largely due to the performances of the 26-year-old attacking midfielder that the Red Devils are now serious Premier League title challengers.

According to WhoScored, Fernandes has scored 11 goals and provided seven assists in 17 Premier League matches and scored four goals and gave one assist in six Champions League games for United this season.

Newcastle United’s regret

One suspects that Newcastle fans will look at the situation with regret. If things had turned out the way Benitez had hoped, then Fernandes would have join the Magpies.

While Newcastle do not have as good a team as United, Fernandes would have still made a massive impact at the Magpies.

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