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The media has gone into overdrive on the interweb, TV, papers and radio with rumours of who is going to replace Paul Scholes at United. While Sir Alex Ferguson says we’re not interested in Wesley Sneijder or Samir Nasri, David Gill is busy in negotiations. William Jones looks at our options…

  Report By: William Jones, 4:45pm

The retirement of Paul Scholes has undoubtedly left a huge gaping hole in the centre of midfield. It will be impossible to replace the ‘Ginger Prince’, but in order to represent a stronger force next year, buying a player who can offer us added creativity is vital. Whilst Scholes’ latter years didn’t produce many goals, I think that any midfielder that does come in needs to be able to offer us a good scoring option a long with fantastic vision on the pitch. 

Just 2 weeks since the transfer window officially opened, Sir Alex Ferguson has already made 3 excellent signings, yet the most important one is still to come. Many various names have been thrown around, but who really is the ‘perfect’ replacement ?… 

27 years old
Wesley Sneijder: This Dutch maestro is perhaps the most skilled player that we have been linked to, with a World Cup Final under his belt, along with 3 first division titles (Eredivisie, LaLiga, Serie A). Having already lost 5 very experienced players all over the age of 30 from the United squad, Sneijder’s experience in performing at the very top level could be extremely beneficial…

However, just 4 goals and 5 assists for Internazionale in Serie A last season (admittedly it was injury-plagued) and a price tag of £35 Million with very high salary demands are certainly disadvantages to acknowledge. A five year deal which sees him paid a salary of £200,000 each week would cost a total of £90 Million and with a low potential ‘sell-on’ value in five or so years time, the club will recoup little of this huge outlay. 

Conclusion: Would be a fantastic addition with relatively little risk but huge amount of money for a single player.

25 years old
Luka Modric: His recent comments stating that he would prefer to stay in London and the ever increasing bids made by Chelsea mean that he is probably a rather unrealistic target. Nevertheless, there have certainly been bigger shocks in football, but if Modric does leave Tottenham this transfer window then I think that his fee will be similar to Sneijder’s… 

His excellent vision, robustness and the fact that he is proven in the Premier League suggest that he could be the most ideal signing, but his statistics of just 3 goals and 2 assists in the league last season certainly don’t sing his praises.

Conclusion: A low-risk, excellent addition to the side, although remains very unlikely that he will sign for United.

24 years old
Samir Nasri: You may be wondering why I am even mentioning him after Fergie’s comments regarding the player in Monday night’s press conference, however I wouldn’t rule the signing out yet. Possibly a ‘last roll of the dice’ to turn the player’s head, Nasri would certainly be a good addition to the team. At only 24, he would quite possibly play for 10 years at Old Trafford…

At £20 million, he would probably represent better value than Sneijder. His 30 appearances for Arsenal last season in the league reaped a reputable 10 goals, but just 1 assist. He had a great first half of the season but tailed off towards the second half and it’s this erratic nature to his game which I believe is the biggest question mark over him. 

Conclusion: If we were to get him it would be a big coup right under Wenger’s nose, but whether he can really offer first class services all season long is the real issue.

22 years old
Shinji Kagawa: This 22-year-old who current plays for Borussia Dortmund burst onto the scene last season, scoring 8 goals in just 18 games in the Bundesliga. Being valued at £24 Million by Dortmund, he certainly wouldn’t come cheap, although if we were to sign him he would certainly pose a very attacking threat. He would also be a very lucrative marketing commodity in Japan…

Kagawa would most likely be able to recoup his transfer fee in additional revenue from the Japanese market.

Conclusion: Young with bags of potential, although it’s likely Dortmund will try their best to hold onto one of their most prized assets. Perhaps he is one for next summer ?

24 years old
Arturo Vidal: Whilst not actively linked to United in the media, this Chilean who plays for Bayer Leverkusen would be a more defensive option and isn’t in the same mould as the players mentioned above. However, with the loss of Owen Hargreaves, his defensive qualities certainly wouldn’t go amiss and 10 goals and 11 assists in the Bundesliga last term also reflect the all-round nature to his game…

Costing at around £15 Million he would also be the cheapest of the players mentioned, although the Premier League would certainly be a sterner test for the player and whether he could adapt is a different question.

Conclusion: Offers plenty of options but a less well known option not proven at the highest level. Fergie does like to spring surprises though…

Before I finish, it would be naive of me not to mention any youth players that have the potential to fill this midfield gap in the future. In Monday’s press conference, Ferguson himself said on replacing Scholes: “Maybe somebody will emerge out of the youth team or one of the young players emerge, and then we carry on.” Whilst it’s unlikely that any of the youth players could fill this gap right now, there are certainly many future midfield stars. 

Ryan Tunnicliffe will be on loan at Peterborough United for the first half of the new season, offering us a chance to look at him in the Championship and see just how good he really is. Coincidentally, he won the Jimmy Murphy Young Player Of The Year award for the 2010/2011 season, won by Paul Scholes himself in 1992. 

Paul Pogba looked in great form for the youth team last season, netting some amazing goals (see video) and could certainly add amore physical option in midfield. 

Ravel Morrison certainly has the potential to be a huge star in the future and despite question marks over his temperament off the field, it is thought that he is becoming more mature and I for one would love to see a few appearances from him in the first team this season. 

Whoever we do sign this summer I think we have to trust in Ferguson. I for one would love to see Wesley Sneijder arrive and increased speculation regarding his future suggests that it could well be apossibility. We should also not rule out any surprises, with possibly a new Chicharito of the midfield coming in. Hopefully though, as one Old Trafford Legend retires, let’s just hope a new one is born.

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Devils News

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 4:50:18 pm

do you now if Sneijder the webb is buzing


Sat, 16 Jul 2011 4:52:42 pm

@ ‘Devils News’

Well, betting suspending this weekend by some bookies, but I’m honestly getting tired of all the conflicting reports. I hope we just sign him soon, and get it over with. If not, then that’s the end of it. Sir Alex can choose from the above, and other targets instead.



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 4:55:49 pm

this guy claim man utd deal for sneijder is very close…




Sat, 16 Jul 2011 4:59:36 pm


saying samething


Devil News

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 5:12:24 pm

20morrows paper will have a picture of Wes http://www.mirror.co.uk/sunday-mirror going to united for 40 million chake it out



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 5:17:37 pm

can I throw a random one in? If were lookin for a midfielder to tackle, regain possession and let the others play! How about a loan deal for Scott Parker?


Bill McNeal

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 5:30:58 pm

Scott Parker is not good enough for Manchester United.

Michael Carrick already does the job you mention, only he has played at a much higher level.

If we are going to spend £35m on Wesley Sneijder, why not just fork out an extra £5m and get Francesc Fabregas instead?



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 5:33:43 pm

Totally agree. Take Parker on loan swell as Wesley. Better tackler than the rest we have. Worth a gamble.



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 6:28:45 pm

We would never get cesc he only has eyes for barca Wesley is the man we want & he wants to come to us so let’s get the deal done & soon


jt vision

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 6:37:59 pm

What about mark hamsik. He’s a brilliant player.



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 7:16:40 pm

Javier pastore? Might be expensive, but young, skillful, an eye for goal, better value than sneijder. If not, give ando his chance. Carrick has improved since the game against chelsea, he’s the closest one we’ve got to replace scholesy and come january, hopefully we can get nasri on a bosman for next season.


Sat, 16 Jul 2011 7:37:07 pm

Marek Hamsik will not be going anywhere, anytime soon. Auerillo De Laurentis is asking for over £40M for him.

To be honest, I cannot see Sneijder at United, Schweinsitger will not be moving having signed a contract extension at Bayern. Modric wants a move to Chelsea, Nasri looks like he’ll either stay at Arsenal or move to City.

I think it’s time for another young central midfield signing, but if were going to do that, why not give Tunniclife, Morrison and Pogba a chance.

However I think we should test Borrusia Dortmund’s resolve with a £10-15M bid for Mario Goetze. I see him as a perfect long term replacement for Paul Scholes. He has the vision, the killer pass and he also gets goals from midfield.



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 10:02:23 pm

completely agree regarding Gotze.

Really looks the part and I’m sure he wouldn’t cost mega money.

Worth a cheeky bid.



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 11:41:56 pm

agree with Parker we need a defensive midfielder to break up play and put the tough challenges in when needed. but parker is 30 and lass diarra is only 24-25 and he is worldclass and a price tag of only around 15m represents a good signing



Sat, 16 Jul 2011 11:57:21 pm

luka is the safe and best option !!



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 12:41:57 am

wesley sneijder is the best option he has the most quality and is proven at the highest level including champions league and international. the others havent proven themselves at the highest level. sneijder is a dream buy for us i really hope we sign him



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 3:38:32 am

Agree with many. I think its Sneijder or nobody. He’s arrival is a very costly one, but something for the short term. Perhaps a mastero that can provide experience to the midfield, and guide the young players who will come along. If Fregie cannot get Wes, then I doubt he will bring in anyone else. Then he gotta gamble on the young ones we have. Anderson and Carrick + Fletcher is good enough for the EPL, just the Champions League which is a concern. Giggs, Park or even Rooney can play in that position. We also have Cleverly, or even Morrison and Pogba or Tunniclife… Our CM might be light weighted, but look at our forward…WOW Rooney, Chicharito, Berbatov, Owen, Kiko, Wellbeck….Nani, Valencia, Young…they are damn good!



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 3:57:47 pm

@ Marc

We need a better midfield than what we have otherwise we’ll just be playing long balls up to our strikers who I agree are a force to fear. But they need service and a great midfield that will control the game, otherwise the ball will be given away cheaply and the defence always under pressure. We don’t just need Sneidjer, we also need at least one other centre midfielder after losing Scholes, Hargreaves and (hopefully) Gibson, so at least 2 centre midfielders are needed in this window



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 5:08:41 pm

the cost is crazy but he will recoup the outlay in shirt sales. at the end of the day we got scholesy for free apart from his wages so if we have to pay 35m for sneijder and we win the European cup he is well worth the cash



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 7:04:10 pm

Well said that man!! ( above post)



Sun, 17 Jul 2011 10:38:07 pm

Why not go for Diarra and gotez same price as wes and less wages and better sell on value



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 3:06:32 am

Well, seems like Fregie always having a problem covering the centre of the park..haa We were all so excited when he brought in Veron, but then…it was a flop. Its the era of Scholes and Keano that we were best…hence I feel what we need here is a holding midfielder, a hard man like Keano! Look at the market now, can you identify one who is close, at a young age too? NO..the closest to come is Hargreaves, but is injury prone… This position is really a hard nut to crack. While i felt excited reading about the possibility of Sneijder coming, I also fear he will be like Veron. So, if we can’t bring in anyone suitable, its wise to stick to Carrick, Anderson, Fletcher and Giggs!


True Red

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 9:39:06 am

Hey Marc I like your observation !
i have also observed that we really need someone like keano , in the middle of the park and of course another scholesy. Looking at the market rite now i think Rodwell (he’s young) can be someone like scholesy or De Rossi (he is 27 , not that young) can be our next keano , or else if you want someone frm your own academy then who else than Ravel Morrison , what do ya think?
Also , since now we dont have scholesy , i dont think carrick , ando or fletch can take his place , so yes’ we need someone , if its youngster we’re looking then i think Dortmund’s Mario Gotze ( young talented German) perfectly fits the bill or Marek Hamsik from Napoli , is great but if we dont buy then i can also see Tom Cleverley replacing Scholesy !!!



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 12:16:28 pm

“Marc” – totally agree with u on defensive midfielder. “true red” – morrison is more a creative midfielder than defensive. heres what i wrote on previous post on same topic. look id love better football and to see da creativity that a sneider or whichever creative midfielder could add but im just sayin defensive midfield is da priority. weve yet to replace Roy Keane. Hargraves should of and could of been that player. Its the reason we are not getting more possesion cos we cant get da ball back. Even da poor premership teams play two against us in midfield. Also i believe Carrick and Fletcher wud be better with a proper defensive midfielder next to them – and they our two best center midfielders defensively. Also in da creative midfield spot – giggs (38 but unreal again last year in da big games), Anderson, carrick/fletch, and also da young lads – cleverly, pogba and esp Morrison. Ince left to open up a spot for da likes of Scholes/Becks. Look at Wilshire this year with da gunners. But a defensive mid – we just dont have any hence da priority


True Red

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 1:37:46 pm

@Siz – but u have to agree that Ravel Morrison is a hard tackler , which is exactly wat we lack in midfield and that was exactly what Keano did in his prime !



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 1:50:06 pm

He can put in a tackle but no hes more a creative midfielder than a covering da back four, getting the ball back type of player. Hed be best suited to a defensive midfielder next to him. So if his best spot is attackin mid, as is cleverly, pogba, anderson, giggs, carrick (he has to be half decent somewhere) then defensive midfield is da spot we need – heres a column actually on a article i read “Ravel Morrison has been talked up as the most naturally talented footballer to come out of Manchester United’s youth program since Paul Scholes.

The 18-year-old from Wythenshawe can play in wide positions, in the center of the midfield or even just behind the striker—in a role similar to Wayne Rooney’s.

Morrison is technically gifted and would bring the unpredictability factor that is lacking so much in the Manchester United midfield. He would add fluency to the attack and would be an ideal feeder to someone like Chicharito.

Morrison is an all-rounded player. He’s got balance, control, vision, speed and a very good eye for a goal, which was evident after watching his Youth Cup performance.

Morrison was one of the stars of United’s Youth Cup triumph and scored a brace in the second leg of the final against Sheffield United, along with a wonder goal against Chelsea in the semifinal.

However, his most memorable goal, in my opinion, came when he scissor-kicked United to the lead after being down 2-0 against Liverpool.

He is an exceptional talent and has the potential to be a world-class player for United in the future.”



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 2:20:02 pm

Hi folks, thanks for agreeing =P
Well..its not necessary we need to have a totally Defensive CM like Keano match with Attacking Flair in Scholes.

Look at the Barca Midfield, and those 2 are certainly not bought over from elsewhere! When you buy players, chances is he will wanna leave for elsewhere after being groomed into a star player, like the case of…who else? Cristiano Ronaldo!!

To me, not getting Nasri/ Modric/ Sneijder may just be a blessing in disguise… It open up a chance for the young ones in the squad. Anderson – time maybe right for him this time round after being understudy to scholesy for sooo long… and Morrison-Pogba-Cleverly, have faith in them! I think they are the hope of England. Fletcher and Carrick — they will be there until the young ones takes over.

Another observation I’ve made, have any of you ask yourselve why? Why did fergie sell O’Shea – his utility man? Oh well… maybe thats because he’ve bought Phil Jones? I doubt that he is bought in simply as a Centre Back… we have already gotten Smailing and Evans.. so I believe he can fit into the DCM position too…





Mon, 18 Jul 2011 2:36:46 pm

Marc – Keane was actually more an attackin midfielder with forest before joing us and wouldn just say all he could do was just a defensive mid – he was no masherano – keano was able to play too. barca midfield is made up of 3 midfielders – busquets(masherano) doing da defensive job and then lettin xavi inesta do da footballing – so its not like for like there. i agree with ya on everything else – and I too am not sure whether Jones was bought as a dcm or cb. Cant understand how no journalist has asked this. did see fergie refer to Jones as a centre back tho when talking recently and with wes and johno movin on and rio becomin very injury prone i was takin him to be backup at da center back spot. if was bought as a center midfielder tho id be satisfied with our signings for the summer as is – however if he was bought as a centre back then i still think we need a defensive midfielder (mvilla my preference btw)



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 2:48:50 pm

i do think fergie had an eye on Rodwell but his injury prowness has scared the great scot off


True Red

Mon, 18 Jul 2011 4:14:24 pm

ya ‘ totally agree with you guys great thinking nad observations.

i also , personally think that our another weakness is in the right back position , where we have only Rafael as the natural player in that position , i’d love to see fergie sign someone that can play there as well , we missed out on Raphael Varane to Madrid , so i just think that fergie still wants a versatile defender , but don’t really know who , may be he can do another chicharito there , i heard some ranger or celtic player claiming fergie was interested in him , but dont knw how true it is , i hope we get someone there too.

And Yeah , Morrison – Pogba – Cleverley , they look dangerous and they are currently the best youth products in england , surely one of them will make an impact this season !



Mon, 18 Jul 2011 6:28:32 pm

Well, Valencia can fill the role of Right Back..and perhaps that makes sense as we have 6 wingers excluding him!

No wonder SAF was saying he wanted to bring Paul Pogba to the States, oh man, just saw the clips, think he is the solution to replace Keane and Hargreaves! We don’t need Lassa.


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