Bruno Fernandes has given Manchester United more “risk factor”, says Denis Irwin, but he is not the only addition to have helped raise collective standards at Old Trafford with all of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s additions considered to have “been great”.
The Red Devils have continued to invest heavily across recent windows, with Harry Maguire made the most expensive defender on the planet when completing a switch from Leicester in the summer of 2019.
Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were also added to United’s ranks at that stage, with Fernandes and Odion Ighalo snapped up in January on permanent and loan agreements respectively.
Considerable value has been found by Solskjaer, with positive impact made by all his signings. Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and James have settled quickly, but it is Fernandes who has made the biggest impression – with the Portugal international becoming a talismanic presence in a rejuvenated Red Devils side.
"I think pre-Christmas it was up and down," Irwin told talkSPORT. "The new signings have been great, there's no doubt about that, every single one of them.
"Wan-Bissaka has been brilliant, Maguire, Daniel James, but in particular the signing in January of Fernandes has really kicked the club on.
"He gives the team a bit more of a risk factor, a bit more going forward, and I think that's improved an awful lot. Also, I think within them 11 games I think there were nine clean sheets, so I think the defence has come on strong as well."
United had rediscovered a spark prior to the coronavirus lockdown, firing them into contention for a top-four finish and major honours, and Irwin hopes those standards can be maintained when Premier League action resumes on June 17.
The Red Devils full-back added: "You just don't know, hopefully football will get up and running.
"You always get strange results on the back of early season [matches] but hopefully Manchester United will keep going and get up into that Champions League position.
"It's not easy and we need to keep going, simple as that - but the signings have been great and the transformation, I suppose from January, has been there to see."