Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Paul Scholes will stay on at Manchester United for a further season next year, which doesn’t mean the side should forget about finding his replacement.
Scholes joins fellow veteran Ryan Giggs in staying on in the senior squad for at least one more year, which mans if United don’t want to be in a position where they need to make two huge signings next summer, they need to sort out one right now.
It should be at the very top of Ferguson’s to do list because Scholes turns 39-years-old in November, which means if he’s retained in a playing capacity, he will not be able to play every game for the club.
United’s critics this season have all agreed that the main area of the team which needs improving ahead of next season is the midfield, with a driving attacking player needed to come in and do the job Scholes has done for United throughout his career.
United have been linked with several possible players who could all be considered Scholes replacements and they will continue to be linked with players, right up until the point where they show their hand.
If Scholes stays on as a player or as a coach, United need to replace him because they don’t really have anyone else like him in the current squad.
That should be a big concern because a lot of pressure has been put on the shoulders of Michael Carrick this season who does not have the same attacking ability as the United legend.
Carrick has turned more into the sort of holding player in the side, the player who protects the back four, cuts off the angles and makes it difficult for United to pass the ball through the team.
Financially and in terms of resources, United are not troubled so a Scholes replacement should be the first signing that Sir Alex Ferguson makes this summer.
He’s already confirmed that he’s only looking to make one or two big additions to the squad with the quality the side has shown this season, as well as various players coming back from loan spells and different injuries.
It would be naïve of the club to gamble on the fact that Scholes will stay on as a player, when that confirmation hasn’t actually come out of his mouth yet.
Ferguson has just said he’ll stay on in some capacity which means he’s got a guaranteed coaching job with the side, even if he’s not playing next season.
Either way United must make finding a player like him their main priority because if Ferguson allows him to slip out of the squad, without having someone good enough and proven to fill in, that would be one of his biggest ever mistakes.
Who can replace him?
image: © Magnus D