Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes' stats have been compared to Paul Scholes

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Bruno Fernandes has been at the heart of Manchester United's transformation back into title contenders. 

The Red Devils can overtake Liverpool at the top of the table if they win their next Premier League outing against Burnley next Tuesday. That shifting of the pendulum would have been almost unthinkable in much of the post-Fergie era. 

However, it's in large part thanks to their ingenious playmaker that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men now look to have turned a corner. 

While it would be naive to overlook some of the notorious shortcomings which haven't simply gone away at United, Fernandes is the catalyst which turns them from a run-of-the-mill top six side to - on their day - an explosive team of title contenders. 

This is the Portuguese's first full season at Old Trafford. Having arrived in January of 2020, he immediately started making an impact in English football. United were only left to regret not having signed him the previous summer as they haggled with Sporting Lisbon over his fee. 

Fernandes' impact so far 

By the end of the 2019/20 campaign, he'd already registered 16 goals involvements (nine goals, 7 assists) in the league - more than Roberto Firmino, David Silva and Alexandre Lacazette. All of that trio had a six-month head start on him. 

The 26-year-old has picked up where he's left off, too. In the new season, he's bagged 16 goals and eight assists in all competitions. 

Fernandes isn't just spectacular because he's managed to banish the mediocrity that had seeped in following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

If anything, that makes his achievements more impressive. Solskjaer's four-man diamond midfield often hasn't worked - the likes of Fred and Paul Pogba both putting in a few sketchy performances - but United's number 18 has still risen to the occasion. 

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If you were to judge him in any era, his numbers are still eye-watering.

Per Opta, he's recorded more goal involvements per game than any other player in the 20-time champions' modern history - more than Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. 

So will we see him being talked about as a United legend in years to come? He certainly should be when his stats are compared to one of the greats, Paul Scholes. 

The Sun have broken down their numbers side-by-side and it shows the current United midfielder is on course to overtake the former England international by quite some margin. 

Scholes' Premier League stats

Appearances: 499

Goals: 107 

Assists: 55

Minutes per goal: 338

Minutes per assist: 657

Minutes per goal involvement: 223

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Fernandes' Premier League stats 

Appearances: 30

Goals: 19

Assists: 14 

Minutes per goal: 131

Minutes per assist: 178

Minutes per goal involvement: 76

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Now, perhaps these figures are a little unfair. Scholes often operated in a much deeper role and in his later years in particular, he was used as a holding midfielder. 

That might explain why, in the newspaper's poll, 61 per cent of around 7,000 fans asked still opted for the Class of '92 hero. His technical ability was just astonishing and similar to his teammate Ryan Giggs, the stats don't always do justice to how influential a player he was. 

Last month, Scholes told United's official website that their playmaker is "phenomenal". "He's better than me," he said. "He's different to me. He scores more goals than me, he creates more goals than me." 

Many supporters clearly don't agree. Nevertheless, Fernandes can't be underestimated when he is being talked about in such a pantheon of United legends. 

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