Football News

Bruno Fernandes’ best position? New Man Utd signing “like Paul Scholes”, says Solskjaer

By Mohamed Moallim

Man Utd transfer news on the Bruno Fernandes deal

Published: 14:58, 1 February 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has likened newly signed Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes to club legend Paul Scholes.

The 25-year-old Portuguese international joined the Red Devils from Sporting CP for a reported £47m just before deadline day.

The rise and rise of Fernandes: Five key things to know…

  • Fernandes came through at Portuguese side Boavista but never made an appearance for their senior team.
  • He subsequently moved to Italy where he managed 15 goals across 119 Serie A games for Udinese and Sampdoria.
  • Since returning to Portugal he’s been prolific: 63 goals and 52 assists in 137 matches for Sporting.
  • During the 2018/19 season, he managed 33 goals from midfield in all competitions…
  • …breaking Frank Lampard’s European record for most by a midfielder in a single season.

Fernandes had long been linked with a move to Old Trafford and was rumoured to be on his way last summer but he ultimately remained in Lisbon where he went on to register eight goals across 17 league outings whilst creating a further seven for his teammates.

His acquisition had long been anticipated with Man Utd lacking creative midfielders, particularly with Paul Pogba sidelined for the foreseeable future. Fernandes, who many view as his eventual successor, is expected to immediately hold down a place in Solskjaer’s team.

However, it remains to be seen where the Norwegian tactician fields him. For Sporting this season he was exclusively used as an attacking midfielder, but he’s able to play deeper. This multifunctionality pleases Solskjaer, who sees shades of former teammate Scholes – who managed 155 goals across 718 games for Man Utd – in Fernandes.

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“Bruno can do absolutely everything as a footballer, apart from he’s my size, so he’s probably not a target-man in the box, but he’s such a good footballer and he can play with good players around him,” he said.

“We can play with three in midfield, he can play [as] a 10, he can play in off the side, he can play in a diamond. We’ll give him the time to find his best position.

“Of course, we bring him in to play and we believe in him. But we’re also going to give him time to find his feet and settle down in a new country, new team-mates, new league. But of course, there’s one place less for the others and he’s going to be a very important player for our squad.

“He’s a goalscoring and assisting midfielder, a little bit like Paul Scholes. He can strike a ball fantastically, he’s got such a wonderful technique, but he’s also going to get assists from set-plays and his passes, his range of passes.

“So a similar type to Scholesy, fiery as well, and hates losing. He has the same number on the back of his shirt as well.”

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