Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Full details revealed as Man Utd net handy windfall after Euro giant triggers option to buy loan ace

Alvaro Fernandez Man Utd

Alvaro Fernandez is heading to Benfica permanently

Benfica have triggered their option to buy left-back Alvaro Fernandez from Manchester United after a successful loan spell in Portugal.

The talented defender made a loan switch to the Portuguese giants back in January and has totalled 11 Primeira Liga appearances and three in the Europa League since the switch.

The 21-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Real Madrid in 2020 and was named Preston’s Player of the Year last season after another impressive loan stint.

Fernandez actually began the current campaign in another temporary stint at LaLiga outfit Granada but was recalled after only making five starts.

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Transfer insider Fabrizio Romano has revealed that the Spain Under-21 international has signed a five-year contract, with United being paid €6m (£5.1m) for the defender.

The Red Devils also have a buy-back clause, matching rights and a sell-on clause, although those figures are not revealed.

Fernandez was given more opportunities by Benfica late in the season after Alexander Bah was ruled out through injury and made a real impact on and former Portugal and Benfica defender Joao Manuel Pinto.

“He is a player who fits into Benfica’s offensive process and idea,” Pinto told O Jogo. “He appears often in the area, crosses well, explores the interior area well and defends well. With Carreras, Benfica can make better use of this offensive idea

“He appears in the end zone and finishes. And he also showed that he has aggression.

“He is a player with quality and hunger for the game, he has already shown that. He has responded. I like him, he needs to play more, but he is very useful, I believe he will seize the opportunity.

“With playing time he acquires rhythm and confidence. You have to remember that he also had a period of adaptation and that the best time was the last one.”

Fernandez exit heads major United overhaul

Fernandez’s exit is expected to be the first of many at Old Trafford as Sir Jim Ratcliffe begins an overhaul of a squad that massively underperformed this season under Erik ten Hag’s tenure.

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They do still have a chance to end the campaign in a positive fashion though when they face neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

However, the game is still expected to be Ten Hag’s last in charge, with the vultures circling and the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna, Roberto De Zerbi and Thomas Frank lined up as his replacement.