Former Arsenal player who is now a Sky Sports pundit, Paul Merson, has criticized Manchester United for renewing the contract of the club’s midfielder, Bruno Fernandes.
The 54-year-old retired England international stressed that the club should have waited until they appoint a permanent coach before they offer Fernandes a new contract.
Manchester United have been without a permanent coach since they sacked coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier in the 2021-2022 season.
Instead of appointing a new coach, they decided to first appoint a caretaker coach, Micheal Carrick. Afterward, they appointed an interim coach, Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick is expected to remain the football manager of the club until the end of the 2021-2022 season. Afterward, he would become a consultant at the club.
Most critics of the Premier League club wondered why the club did not sign a permanent coach immediately after they sacked Solskjaer. Most fans thought that the focus of the club would be to get a new coach ahead of the 2022-2023 season.
Recently, the coach of Ajax, Erik Ten Hag has been heavily linked with a move to the club. It has been confirmed that Manchester United had interviewed the coach but nothing concrete has been heard since then.
Amid the process of getting a new coach, reports emerged that Manchester United was on the verge of offering Bruno Fernandes a new contract. Immediately after the March international break, Fernandes signed the contract extension despite still having over two seasons left on his then contract.
In reaction to the news that Fernandes has signed a new contract with Manchester United, Paul Merson said he was “flabbergasted” over the development.
“I’m flabbergasted,” Paul Merson told Soccer Saturday. “You give him a four-year contract extension with more money, but a manager could come in and he might not like him. He may not like throwing his hands up in the air and moaning when not getting the ball. It might be Ten Hag who might want someone else.
“I’m shocked, I cannot believe what’s happening. Everything is being done off the cuff at Man United. Unless they’ve got a manager sorted – and I doubt it – and they said ‘do you want Fernandes? We’ll sign him up.
“You have to like that kind of player. He’s a bit of a luxury player as he’s going to make things happen. But Ten Hag could come in and play a certain way of football. I’m shocked, it’s a bit of a shambles.
“I’m not saying he’s not a good player, he’s a good player. But everyone’s different. Jack Grealish is a great player, but would Jurgen Klopp have paid £100m for him? It’s horses for courses and a manager could come in and say that Fernandes is not my cup of tea.”
"I'm flabbergasted if I'm being honest" 😮— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 2, 2022
Paul Merson is shocked that Manchester United have signed Bruno Fernandes to a new long-term deal 📝 pic.twitter.com/rzZlscmXZe
The contract Manchester United gave Bruno Fernandes left Paul Merson flabbergasted
Bruno Fernandes joined Manchester United on January 29, 2020, for a transfer fee worth €63 million. Since then, the 27-year-old Portuguese football star has made 117 appearances in all competitions in which he scored 49 goals and provided 39 assists.
So far this season, the Portugal international has scored 9 goals and provided 14 assists in 37 games in all competitions.
The contract he signed with Manchester United was expected to expire on June 30, 2025. But the Premier League club decided to renew the contract and improved his wages.
Based on the new contract he signed with Manchester United which left Paul Merson flabbergasted, Fernandes will stay at United until June 30, 2026, with an option for a further year.
He is now among the top earners at Chelsea with a weekly take-home of about £240,000. Reports claimed that only Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea, Jadon Sancho, and Raphael Varane currently earn more than Fernandes at Old Trafford.
It might interest you to note that Fernandes has been married to Ana Pinho since 2015. The marriage is blessed with a daughter, Matilde born in 2017, and a son Goncalo, born in 2020.