Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has lauded Bruno Fernandes for the impact he has made at Old Trafford.
Fernandes has revitalised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attack that was lacking some of the Portugal playmaker’s inspiration.
The 25-year-old has scored three goals and contributed four assists since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January. He has become an instant fan favourite, collecting the club’s player of the month award for both February and March.
Fernandes has given Solskjaer exactly what he has been missing in his insistence on starting Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira in attacking midfield.
And Scholes has praised Fernandes for bringing fresh energy to the squad, and drew comparisons in his style of play with the iconic Eric Cantona.
“The one thing with Bruno is he doesn’t look like a central midfielder to me, he’s an out and out number 10,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Friday Football Social.
“He’s great on the ball, always on the half turn and he’s the link that United really needed.
‘They lacked that quality in midfield and since he came in he’s had that. He can feed the ball in to players, he’s got a great shot on him and he looks like a real leader as well. United had lacked that.
“Whether he can play in midfield in a two, that’s yet to be seen. He’s more like an Eric Cantona, a Teddy Sheringham – he can beat players as well. He is somebody who brings what was sadly missing at Old Trafford and he seems to have livened up everyone. The team is playing well and they look like scoring goals.
Fernandes has been publicly commended by a number of United greats in the media and it’s difficult not to get carried away with a player that has made such a brilliant impact.
United have not yet lost a game since the Portuguese international arrived in Manchester.
But Fernandes is just one of the pieces in Solskjaer’s United jigsaw which is far from complete. Scholes thinks the Reds need at least three more signings to close the gap on bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
“They are still behind, but they have bought a brilliant player in who seems to have knitted it all together,” he added.
“They did have a really good group of players but missed that one person who can make a difference – like a David Silva or Kevin de Bruyne who can glue the team together with their attacking movements.
‘I still think they are a bit off the pace, they’ve looked good lately since Fernandes came in but Liverpool and Manchester City are streets ahead. There are three or four signings that can help but for the first time in a long time you feel like they could close the gap to the top.”
This summer’s transfer window is important for Solskjaer in accelerating his rebuild at Old Trafford. We are unsure what the nature of the market will be given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But, ideally, United will strengthen up front, at right-wing and in midfield.