Dimitar Berbatov: Fernandes will boost United but they need more signings

Bruno Fernandes playing for Sporting Lisbon
Sporting Lisbon to Man Utd is a big move for Bruno Fernandes

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov says Bruno Fernandes is a good signing for Manchester United and needs to step up straight away. Our man also thinks Spurs need a striker...

"I hope Fernandes will give the team a boost but it's foolish just to rely on him. It shows intent from United and I hope they buy someone else."

Against City, it was a good game from United and it was a much better performance than the one against Burnley, but in the end it wasn't enough. United can take positives from the performance and the win. They did have good opportunities to score a second but it just wasn't to be. I hope that they can keep up with performances like that and the 6-0 against Tranmere.

Win at City could boost United's morale

You could say that United were fortunate at times because City missed some big chances and there were some one on ones against David de Gea who had a great game and made some unbelievable saves. I think United did everything they could to score another and let's not forget they were also down a man for a bit of time in the second half.

They will know this but now they need to be consistent and they need to stick to it. I'm sure that result will help the morale of the team, it's another good win against their rivals at the Etihad. I will be happy if they continue with similar performances and show some consistency.

De Gea still one of the best in the world

I have always like De Gea and not just because I have played with him in the same team. For me he is almost the complete goalkeeper. I say almost because I think he needs to play a bit more with his two feet. He has had a major upgrade since the time that I was there with him. You can see how he is comfortable on the ball, passing it out from the back, looking for team mates.

De Gea Ball 1280.JPG

Looking at other goalkeepers he isn't the only one, Courtois for example still needs to do a lot more work with his feet and I remember when he started at Real Madrid it was difficult for him, but it is good to see him getting his place there and he is also up there with the best goalkeepers in the world along with Jan Oblak, Ter Stegen and Manuel Neuer.

Bruno Fernandes signing is a boost but United still need to bring more in

It's a big signing and United have paid a lot of money for Bruno Fernandes and I hope he will give the team a boost, but to rely on just one man to turn things around is going to make things difficult. I would like to be proven wrong and of course I want him to do well but it's foolish just to rely on him. It shows intent from United and I hope they buy someone else.

He is joining up with a young, great team, and the players that are there will see that effort is being made to improve the quality of the side, and I'm sure they will want to up their game and impress, especially the midfield players because they have competition now and I'm sure they will be telling themselves that they need to put more effort in during training and matches.

Overall, it's good because it shows the intent and caliber of Manchester United. I hope other big names see this signing and think that they want to come to Old Trafford too because, like I said, just signing one player is a good first step but they need a couple more.

When someone pays a lot of money for you, you are always going to have that pressure on your back. Pressure from yourself, pressure from the fans, pressure from the press, pressure from everyone. That's why it is up to Fernandes and the people around him to make things comfortable so that he doesn't think about those pressures. His team-mates will help him to settle. Let's not forget that he is coming from outside of England and now he will be in a different league, with a different tempo and different teams.

Manchester United had been chasing him for a while and hopefully everyone makes him feel great because he needs to step up straight away into the team and help them.

Fernandes follows Ronaldo and Nani...

He is following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani and I hope he makes the same impact that both those players did. I mean what can you say about Ronaldo that hasn't been already said? When I shared the changing room with him he was always a great professional, he had a great work ethic and he was a great lad as well. He could take a joke and give it back. At first it was a bit difficult for Nani because he was playing in a similar position to Cristiano, but he held his own when he needed to.

I heard rumours that Barcelona were also interested in signing him, and if that was the case he has shown that he prefers United so he must have seen something he liked. He's going to play but he is a big money signing and now he needs to justify to the club why he is worth so much. He doesn't need to think about the price and as a midfield player I don't think he needs to focus on scoring goals, his purpose is to control games, get assists and help his team mates and the most important thing is to get into the rhythm of the Premier League.

Thoughts on other teams in the transfer window

I expect Spurs to keep working on bringing in players right up until the transfer window deadline and maybe we will be surprised with some signings. For me they need to bring in a striker to fill that gap left by Harry Kane, maybe Olivier Giroud is going to be that replacement and I think it would be a good move going for him on loan. There will be no expectation on him and he can be free to help the team, he's a goal-scorer and he has no problem finding the net, he knows the league, he knows the team and it could be a good fix for Spurs' striker problem.

Giroud France 2018.jpg

Looking at Chelsea I think everything depends on what Lampard wants, he was vocal about it in his interview the other day and he clearly wants some players in. Looking at the way they play they have had their ups and downs but he is putting young players in the team and giving them a chance. I don't see them buying anyone though. Lampard is recognising himself in the young players and he is giving them a chance because he has been in their shoes and he is doing right.

Looking at their outgoings, there has been talk about Willian to Barcelona and I would be sad to see him go. I like him and he has been there for a while now, maybe he's a little disappointed that he's not getting as much game time as he would like. For me, I would like him to stay at Chelsea because he can still have an impact there.

Pep Guardiola, Man City coach.jpg

I'm not surprised that Man City haven't done anything in this transfer window because when you have a manager like Pep Guardiola, he has his plans, his vision and he knows what he's doing. They do need someone at the back though and an additional central defender would shore them up because they have had problems there this season and Fernandinho isn't getting any younger, even though he has signed a contract extension. Overall, looking at the team they have quality everywhere but sometimes with the winter transfer window you hesitate a little because you want to make the right move, not the wrong move.

Liverpool are so strong in every position and they are showing it in every game and the biggest evidence on how strong they are is that points gap in the Premier League, the manager will be saying 'look at us, I have my boys and we don't need anyone else'. So, I don't expect them to buy anyone.

I think Arsenal have grown so much under Arteta and obviously the players want to play for him, even when they have difficult games they are playing it out from the back and looking good. It's a tricky time for Arteta because he's still new to the job and in the transfer window you need to know exactly who you want and if you're happy with the players you have, you want to give them a chance.

Hazard injury hasn't been a problem for Real Madrid

This week a saw pictures of Eden Hazard returning to training, but despite the fact that he has been out injured, Real Madrid are doing really well and they are proving that they can do without anyone. At the start of the season there were rumours that Zinedine Zidane could get fired and questions were being asked about why he had returned, but I bet he is laughing in his office now when he looks at the table and the results they are getting.

I'm not surprised they are doing so well, Zidane was there before and he has won so much with them. I hope Hazard gets back to playing as soon as possible because he is a big signing and there is a lot of pressure on him to perform.

The Betfair Trader's View - Alan Thompson

Newcastle v Norwich (Back Bet)

The Canaries last two visits to Tyneside were both eventful affairs, a Dwight Gayle hat-trick the highlight of a last gasp 4-3 Championship victory for the home side in 2016 and that followed a 6-2 Premier League success the previous year. I don’t think we will see anything like that this time around.

Steve Bruce’s men have been getting results that their performances haven’t really warranted. The Magpies were held to a 0-0 draw at home in the FA Cup with Oxford United last weekend but that does mean the home side are now six games unbeaten in all competitions. They have been leaving it late, very late, with their last four points coming via goals in injury time against Everton and Chelsea.

However, this weekend they face Norwich City who are six points adrift at the bottom of the league and have only won one Premier League game on the road this season (Everton 0-2). Norwich beat Newcastle at home this season, back in august, but with just six goals scored away from Carrow Road they might find it very difficult to get anything out of St James Park.

Despite a history of goals in games between these two, I don’t see it happening today. I will be backing Newcastle to win at 11/82.34 and having a little bet on the 1-0 correct score at 17/29.6

Liverpool v Southampton (Lay Bet)

The Saints are next up to try and deny Liverpool an unbeaten season and the away side are arriving at Anfield in good form. They have lost just one of their last nine matches in all competitions, winning their last four away in the Premier League, including beating Tottenham and Chelsea in that spell. So this may not be as easy for the Reds as the odds suggest.

The stats and the records this Liverpool team are setting are incredible: they are now 19 points clear at the top of the league and have won their last 19 Premier League games at Anfield. But I think this could be a bit more difficult than the odds of 30/1001.3 for the home side suggest.

They haven’t scored more than two goals in a game in their last eight starts in all competitions and the Asian Handicap have Liverpool -1.5 goals trading at around 10/111.91 against a side that haven’t failed to score on the road since the opening day of the season, when they lost 3-0 at Burnley. Meaning Liverpool need to hit at least three, something they haven’t done at Anfield since they beat Everton at the beginning of December. I will be laying Liverpool -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 10/111.91.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles