The Red Devils signed the midfielder from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon for a deal worth up to €80 million in January 2020. Fernandes has since established himself as a key player for the Premier League giants, scoring 49 goals and providing 39 assists from 118 matches across all competitions.
Manchester United rewarded the 27-year-old for his contributions by handing him a new long-term contract last week despite being on the hunt for a new manager. Fernandes now has a deal with the Old Trafford outfit until the summer of 2026.
Kenny feels Fernandes' new contract signals that he has now become the main man at Manchester United. The former Leeds United shot-stopper expects the Red Devils to build their team around the Portugal international when a new manager comes in. He told Football Insider:
“It’s amazing for Man United. There is no doubting he is a brilliant player. If there was one player you were going to build around over the next few years, it would be him. Obviously, he has been nowhere near his usual levels this season but no one has forgotten how good he was last year. If he can find that form under a new manager, then this deal looks to be a no-brainer."
“I watched him play for Portugal last week and he was incredible so he clearly still has it. I wonder if he just needs a new manager to come in and revitalize the club side of his career. It’s a long deal so you would think he is the main man there now. As I said, I think they will build this new team around him now.”
It remains to be seen who will be in charge of the Red Devils at the start of the 2022-23 campaign. There have been suggestions that Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is the frontrunner for the job.
How has Fernandes fared for Manchester United this term?
Kenny is of the view that Fernandes has been 'nowhere near' his best this season. The 27-year-old has scored nine goals and provided 14 assists in 38 games across all competitions for the Red Devils so far.
For context, Fernandes scored 28 goals and registered 17 assists from 58 appearances for Manchester United last term. It appears there has been a dip in the midfielder's form this time around.
However, it is worth noting that the Red Devils have had a poor 2021-22 campaign altogether. They have been knocked out of all cup competitions and face the threat of missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The Old Trafford outfit currently sit seventh in the table and are three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Fifth-placed Arsenal are level on points with Spurs and have two games in hand as well.