Emmanuel Petit has said that Bruno Fernandes has provided in just over a month at Manchester United the leadership that Paul Pogba was brought in to show four years ago.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced strong calls to be sacked earlier in the campaign after leading his side to their worst start to a league season in 30 years.
Part of the Norwegian’s issue was his side’s injury record, with Pogba last starting a match in September due to two separate foot issues.
However, Portugal international Fernandes was brought in from Sporting Lisbon in January and he has played a vital role in the Red Devils going 11 games unbeaten in all competitions before the season was halted.
Overall, Pogba has largely failed to live up to the talent he showed at Juventus since his move back to Old Trafford and his second spell at the club has been dominated by speculation surrounding his future.
Speaking to Paddy Power, former Arsenal midfielder Petit explained how Fernandes has shown in a much shorter time frame the qualities it was hoped Pogba would have shown more of.
“In the space of two months he is the best buy in the winter market,” the pundit said. “He has made such a big impact. It’s like he’s been at the club for six years.
“He’s changed the mentality inside the dressing room. It’s hard for a player to come in mid-season and do that.
“Paul Pogba was meant to be doing this at Manchester United. It’s what he should have done in terms of leadership on the pitch.”
Pogba has been heavily linked with a move back to Juventus and to Real Madrid, but Petit has backed the pair to line up together at Old Trafford.
“But I’m looking forward to seeing them together on the pitch, I want to see if that can work, and I’m pretty sure it can work,” he said.
Fernandes has been joined by fellow January arrival Odion Ighalo in having a stellar impact for United – Nigerian striker Ighalo’s four goals have helped the club progress in the Europa League and the FA Cup.
In other news, United striker Marcus Rashford has reportedly told Solskjaer why he should pursue a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.
The Red Devils have been linked with a move for the England international, who is understood to be close friends with Rashford.