Paul Merson doubles down on criticism of Manchester United for awarding Bruno Fernandes a new deal

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‘I can’t believe what’s happening’: Paul Merson doubles down on his criticism of Manchester United’s call to hand Bruno Fernandes a new four-year deal that will see him earn TWICE as much, before a new permanent boss has been appointed

  • Bruno Fernandes signed an extension that takes him up to 2026 with the club
  • Manchester United are still yet to settle on a manager for next season 
  • Paul Merson says that it is a ‘strange’ decision without knowing the manager

Paul Merson has doubled down on his criticism of Manchester United deciding to award Bruno Fernandes with a new contract despite the club being yet to decide on their next manager. 

Merson, who on Friday labelled the decision ‘strange’, said that he was ‘flabbergasted’ at the news and that Manchester United is being run ‘off-the-cuff’. 

The contract takes Fernandes up to 2026, with an option of an extra year. It is thought that the deal marks a significant pay rise for the Portuguese playmaker who has had an enormous impact at the club since his arrival in January 2020. 

Paul Merson said that it was a 'strange' decision with no manager as yet having been decided

Paul Merson said that it was a ‘strange’ decision with no manager as yet having been decided

Speaking on Soccer Saturday prior to Watford’s trip to Liverpool, the former Arsenal man said it was decision indicative of a club that did not have clear direction.  

He said: ‘I’m flabbergasted if I’m being honest. You give him a four-year contract extension, more money, whatever it may be.

‘A [new] manager comes in, he might not like [Bruno] Fernandes. He might not like all the throwing the hands up, moaning at everybody when he doesn’t get the ball.’

With rumours abound that Erik Ten Hag is the frontrunner for the job, Merson went on to suggest that he might have a player at Ajax that he would prefer to use over Fernandes. 

Ten Hag coached Manchester United’s out-of-favour midfielder Donny Van De Beek during his time at Ajax. He is currently on loan at Everton.

‘It might be the lad at Ajax,’ Merson said. ‘Who’s got someone else, and he thinks “you know, I’ve got someone else I want to bring in who wants to play my way”‘. 

Bruno Fernandes was rewarded for his impact since arriving in England in January 2020

Bruno Fernandes was rewarded for his impact since arriving in England in January 2020

He added: ‘I’m completely and utterly shocked. I cannot believe what’s happening. Everything’s just being done off-the-cuff.

‘It’s been done off-the-cuff for the last couple of years at Man Utd and that is a prime example.’ 

‘Unless they’ve got a manager sorted, which I doubt they have…I’m very shocked. Especially that kind of player, you have to like that kind of player. You know, you’ve got to really like him. He’s a bit of a luxury player.

‘If the lad from Ajax comes in, he plays a certain way of football, I’m majorly shocked. It’s a bit of a shambles at the moment.’

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