Fernandes has referred to as Man Utd’s bluff – now Ratcliffe has an enormous choice to make

Bruno Fernandes has called Manchester United’s bluff – in the game of poker now taking place between the club and it’s captain.

The United squad will undergo an overhaul this summer as new joint-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe looks to make significant changes. It has left each member of the squad looking over their shoulders – and wondering what their respective futures might hold.

And despite being skipper, Fernandes is not exempt from the limbo. Fernandes chose to smoke United out with an ultimatum. He wants to know he’s still loved and wanted at Old Trafford, otherwise he will leave to join a club which appreciates him.

READ MORE: Erik ten Hag drags Bruno Fernandes away from Sky interview after he’s asked about his future

READ MORE: Man Utd star Amad throws down gauntlet to Marcus Rashford with message to Erik ten Hag

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Fernandes is clearly not convinced United want him to stay, acutely aware that if a sizeable offer in the region of £90m is submitted for him, the club would find it hard to turn it down. He has two seasons left on his current deal, and should he fulfil it, then United bosses know the midfielder’s value is decreasing at the same time.

Fernandes has become the heartbeat of the current United side. OK, so he moans and whinges a lot. Just ask Premier League officials? This often childlike attitude does him no favours.

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Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United complains to Referee Jarred Gillett during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on April 04, 2024 in London, England.
Bruno Fernandes has been at the heart of Manchester United’s recent teams

But what Fernandes also does a lot of is running his blood to water in a bid to stop Erik ten Hag’s men from drowning. While most of his team-mates have either been injured, downed tools or suffered a loss in form against the backdrop of failure, Fernandes has carried them through.

He’s played through the pain barrier at times, when others have not been able to summon up the same courage and commitment to the cause. When Fernandes was finally unable to take the field because his body had had enough, United lost both games to Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

His willingness to fight for lost causes – and there’s been plenty of these this season – has endeared him to United supporters. His commitment to United is not in question.

Bruno Fernandes
Erik ten Hag pulls Fernandes away from reporters after their win over Newcastle

But now the question remains, is the feeling reciprocal? Whoever happens to be managing United next season will be in the position of being able to build a new-look team around Fernandes. Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho, Amad, Rasmus Hojlund and Andre Onana should also be immune from the impending fire-sale.

But Fernandes has now given Ratcliffe and his INEOS team one of the biggest decisions they have faced since taking control of football operations at United. Sell him to the highest bidder and they are accused of putting profit before the progress of the team.

Keep him and they will miss out on a huge transfer fee that would enable them to reinvest in the squad by signing younger players who could form the core of United’s team for a long time to come.

The saga over Fernandes’s future could now engulf the team’s preparations for the upcoming FA Cup final against neighbours Manchester City. A game which could well prove to be Fernandes’s last one in a United shirt.