The man who scouted Bruno Fernandes in 2012 says the Manchester United man only had one weakness when he signed him for Novara.
In an exclusive interview with Football Italia Mauro Borghetti says he went to scout the Portugal star while he was head of the Novara youth section eight years ago.
And while Fernandes was not exceptional on the day Borghetti says the vision and character of Fernandes persuaded him to pay around €40,000 and sign him from Boavista.
“We did a scouting job for Fernandes, we went to see the Boavista U19 squad playing that Saturday and he was the name we were following,” Borghetti told Football Italia.
“He had the right age-range and the right potential cost, even if the fee was slightly beyond our means, around €40,000.
“It’s nothing if you think about the player he is today but at that time he was unknown player and signing him for that money was an important investment for a club like Novara. We took the responsibility.”
Fernandes, 25, soon became Novara’s most expensive sale ever when he left for Udinese a year later for €5m.
Borghetti says Fernandes’ attitude shone like a beacon and claims his physicality was his only weakness.
“He didn’t do great things in that game, but he was a footballer who showed great technical skills and vision,” said Borghetti.
“Above all, he had a great personality which is what distinguishes him now that he is playing football at top levels. As far as I know, we were the only club that wanted to sign him at that time and he immediately accepted our offer.
“He worked hard, trying to learn Italian right away, he joined the group and was immediately welcomed because he was able to establish good relationships with his team-mates.
“He had excellent relations with all the figures inside Novarello. Sometimes his mother or his girlfriend came to visit him. He was a person of some depth. Notoriety and celebrity haven’t changed him.”
‘He has now improved his physical structure’
Fernandes played his first game with Novara’s U19s in October 2012 and scored in a 2-1 win at Livorno and since then he has not looked back.
Borghetti added: “His skills are mainly technical and mental. He must have worked on his physical abilities, which were the only things below average.
“Not from an athletic point of view, he’s always had endurance and aerobic abilities. I speak of his structure. He turned 18 during the season he spent at Novara, he has now improved his physical structure.
“He has always raised the level in his career. Sincerely, what Bruno Fernandes has become today is a bit of a surprise to me.
“We understood that he was not a common footballer but here we are talking about one who plays in one of the most famous club in the world with results out of any kind of logic. He had the potential to do it, but to see what he’s become today is a bit of a surprise.”