Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has praised Bruno Fernandes for the impact he has had at the Old Trafford club since his arrival during the January transfer window. United probably should have signed the player last summer, which could have led to a brilliant season for them, if the player had the same impact, but next season will have to do in that respect. Fernandes had literally changed the landscape at the club since January, leading them to a third-placed finish in the Premier League.
Fernandes made a total of 22 appearances for United this season, scoring 12 goals and eight assists in all competitions, playing in the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. United reached the semi-final stages of both the FA Cup and the Europa League this season, losing to Chelsea and Sevilla respectively. Saha has been impressed with what he has seen from the Portuguese midfielder this season and will be wondering what lies in store for the club and the player during the 2020/21 season. Speaking to the Football Index Podcast and reported by The Mirror, Saha said:
“I don’t remember a player ever coming to Manchester United or the Premier League and having the immediate impact that Bruno Fernandes has had.
“He’s demanded a much higher standard of this Manchester United squad and the players around him have risen to the occasion. Fernandes has of course scored a lot of penalties, but he has been a big attacking threat from open play and also drives the high press to regain possession back.
“It took even Paul Scholes a couple of years to gain the respect and ability to impact games like this, but Bruno Fernandes has achieved it immediately.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will be able to maintain this form next season and he will only become more effective if he is surrounded by more quality players.”
On his arrival at United, Paul Pogba was still on the sidelines through unjust, recovering from ankle surgery. It was immediately wondered what sort of impact the Frenchman would make in a team that also consisted of Fernandes. The Frenchman seemed excited about linking up with the midfielder and when he got around to doing just that, it seemed to work well. Pogba has a new lease of life at United, according to Saha and he feels that his compatriot will go from strength to strength at the club with Fernandes in the same team. Saha said:
“I think Paul Pogba has been given a new lease of life now that Manchester United has signed Bruno Fernandes.
“Pogba is very motivated by Fernandes and having him in the midfield next to him has given him more freedom and far more options on the ball.
“He has also benefitted massively by now being able to share the spotlight with Fernandes both when Manchester United are playing well, but more importantly when they have a bad result too.”
Fernandes will be enjoying his rest from a busy 2019/20 season, which for United lasted 370 days from start to finish, despite the three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Playing for both Sporting Clube de Portugal and United in the same season, the 25-year-old has made a total of 50 appearances, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists, meaning that he was directly involved in 49 goalscoring actions in 50 matches, just short of one per match, which if continued next season for United, would be the start of a great period for the club, especially if they end up strengthening the squad this summer, which is something the club must do.
Written by John Walker