United are currently fifth in the league, 37 points behind league leaders Liverpool, though a run of good form saw the Old Trafford club decrease the gap on fourth-place Chelsea to just three points before the season was suspended.
"I still think they are a bit off the pace, they've looked good lately since Fernandes came in but Liverpool and Manchester City are streets ahead," Scholes told BBC Radio 5 Live's Friday Football Social.
“There are three or four signings that can help but for the first time in a long time you feel like they could close the gap to the top."
He added: “They are still behind, but they have bought a brilliant player (Bruno Fernandes) in who seems to have knitted it all together. They did have a really good group of players but missed that one person who can make a difference - like a David Silva or Kevin de Bruyne who can glue the team together with their attacking movements."