Bruno Fernandes has given Paul Pogba “a new lease of life” at Manchester United, claims Rio Ferdinand, with a World Cup winner now able to share the burden of creative responsibility.
The Red Devils brought a France international back to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 in the hope of seeing him become a talismanic presence.
Pogba has, however, endured struggles for form and fitness across a second spell in England, with the heights he was expected to scale proving to be out of reach.
His ability has never been in question, though, and the hope is that he will flourish now that United have brought in assistance alongside him.
Portuguese playmaker Fernandes has been a revelation since being snapped up in January, with the 25-year-old delivering the kind of spark that Pogba was expected to provide.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now looking for a promising midfield pairing to become one of the best in the business, with Ferdinand among those excited by the potential it possesses.
The former United defender believes Pogba, who has impressed since the Premier League restart, will kick on with Fernandes alongside him, telling BBC Radio 5 Live of a player who was sidelined through injury when another big-money signing arrived: “He’d have been licking his lips in the training ground listening to the lads.
“What happens is, the boys come off the training pitch and they are talking about ‘the new signing, he’s unbelievable, he’s this, he’s that’.
“Paul will have been sat there thinking ‘I want to see this, I want to see if this is the truth, if he’s really this good and I believe I’ll be able to play with him’.
“Paul has been sat there and had a good bit of time to analyse his game and see where he can actually help him, but Bruno also help Paul as well.
“Paul has come in and had a new lease of life where he doesn’t feel as though all the responsibility in terms of the creative aspect is about him and has to go through him – I think that was a big burden on him.
“The team wasn’t fixed and set up for him to thrive. Now it very much is and he’s starting to show why there is always such a commotion around Paul Pogba, because he’s a fantastically talented kid.”
Pogba opened his goal account for the season in United’s last outing, as they breezed past Aston Villa 3-0, and Solskjaer’s side are 17 games unbeaten in all competitions as they prepare to return to action in an ongoing top-four bid when they play host to Southampton on Monday.