Peter Crouch is a columnist for Sportsmail
The deal looks brilliant at first glance, doesn’t it? Bruno Fernandes, a top-class Portugal international who was wanted by many top European clubs, has joined Manchester United for £68 million.
Fernandes is heading impressively towards his peak. He will play at a stadium that has provided the stage for so many top-class performers down the years and we saw at Sporting Lisbon that he has the exciting qualities United fans have come to expect from their main men over the last 25 years.
Those fans need a lift. I was in Manchester 10 days ago and saw a performance against Burnley that left me speechless. What struck me most was the utter despondency of the fans who poured out of the stadium long before the final whistle. I hope Fernandes can make them excited once more.
Paul Pogba, however, was a top player before he went to Manchester. Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku were signings who couldn’t fail either. Juan Mata, six years ago this week, arrived at Old Trafford as a World Cup winner, labelled as the man to light up a stuttering season.
There are more names to add. Victor Lindelof was wanted by teams across the continent when United bought him. Eric Bailly, Marcus Rojo, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Henrikh Mkhitaryan —they all went to Manchester with pedigree or potential.
Of the players we have listed, how many would you say have been resounding successes? It is not easy, is it?
Bruno Fernandes looks like the perfect signing for Manchester United after completing move
The Portugal star has the quality you expect of United's best players and could give fans a lift
But Fernandes must hope he doesn't become the latest star name to struggle at Old Trafford
Another question would be how many have actually improved after joining one of the world’s biggest clubs? It is not wrong to say not one of them did. Some went backwards.
I would love to see Fernandes buck the trend. I have watched him play for Portugal during the last 12 months and I believe he has got the star quality to be a huge presence for United, but until we see firm evidence, the element of doubt around this transfer will remain.
There has been no logic to the way United have operated in the transfer market in recent years, you never get the sense they are buying a player to fit into a firm plan or a confirmed way of playing. It is almost as if they buy the star name and then hope for the best.
Paul Pogba seemed too good to fail but he's one of many big-money signings turned into flops
For this, the focus has to be on Ed Woodward. I was appalled to see the incident on Tuesday night of thugs — we won’t describe them as football fans — firing flares into his Cheshire property. This was a level of disgraceful behaviour that I have never witnessed. Nobody deserves such treatment.
In terms of player recruitment, though, the evidence is clear and damning. Woodward has not made a positive step and I cannot understand why he has not moved for a director of football when they are crying out for some knowledge in that area.
There are two sporting directors I know well in the Premier League —Liverpool’s Michael Edwards (I worked