Bruno Fernandes might have already offered incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag an insight into what type of signings he would like the club to make this summer.
The Dutchman, who took charge of Ajax for the final time on Sunday, overseeing a 2-2 draw with Vitesse Arnhem, will be tasked with overseeing a summer of change at Old Trafford over the coming months. The squad is in desperate need of being transformed, with players needing to be offloaded and fresh blood needing to be added.
The Reds, who will conclude their Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace on Sunday, are set to embark on strengthening several positions within the squad, not least central-midfield. Their midfield woes have been a constant talking point throughout the season and their need for a defensive-midfielder has never been greater.
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However, as highlighted by United’s interest in Frenkie de Jong, the club also needs to add a box-to-box midfielder to its ranks, who can carry the ball and make things happen. They also require that kind of midfielder to chip in with goals and support someone of Fernandes’ mold in the final-third.
And that is why Fernandes, two years ago, admitted that he would like to play alongside someone of the mold of both Roy Keane and Paul Scholes. Keane was a tough-tackling defensive-midfielder in his day, renowned for breaking up play, whilst Scholes liked to venture forward and add goals to his game.
Fernandes, speaking back in 2020, said: “This is a difficult one, eh? I think the most difficult until now. So, I don’t know.
“If I can have both, better. I need the guy behind me kicking everyone and recovering balls, like Roy Keane does, and have the quality to give the balls to the guys upfront.
“If you look at Roy Keane, he’s the kind of player all teams need. Teams play in different ways, but all the teams can have him. Doesn’t matter if you play in possession, in counter, you need a guy like this normally.
“I think Roy Keane is an excellent player and he can give me a lot of cover in the back. To play side to side with Scholes would be fantastic.
“If I can play with both, I play with Roy Keane in the back behind me and Scholes. Because me and Scholes can both go in the scoring area.
“We want to score, we want to be in the area, no? And maybe we will need Roy Keane at our backs.”
Although it was a hypothetical question, it was clear what Fernandes was getting at. It was clear that he wanted United to strengthen their midfield options and that was two years ago.
As well as being interested in De Jong, United are working on a deal to sign Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United. Therefore, if United were lucky enough to sign both of them, it would, potentially, see them meet Fernandes’ wish, as both players would play similar roles to what both Keane and Scholes did.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.