The Red Devils have been reportedly trying to capture highly-rated Barcelona youngster Thiago Alcantara after ending their reported ‘interest’ in his elder teammate; former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.
Both are exceptionally gifted technically, possess immense skill, creativity and have that winning mentality that so many of the Manchester United greats have displayed over the years.
Realistically, United need to find a long-term replacement for the retired Paul Scholes – whilst Alcantara undoubtedly has the potential to become a world-class playmaker, I think Fabregas is far closer to the bar set by the United legend.
Scholes’ range of passing and the simplicity of his craft is what made him so important to United and England over his career. For all the tricks and showboating that players around him like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Nani and even David Beckham had, Scholes could pass the ball around the pitch like no other player in the country for over a decade.
He could switch the play, dictate the tempo, feed key passes to the forwards fire in shots from long range, get stuck in to tackles but, better than anyone else on the pitch, he could completely control the game.
The only other English player who even comes close to him at present is Jack Wilshere. Steven Gerrard is another fine example of a great English midfielder – undoubtedly the best in the world at his peak – and if United and new manager David Moyes really want to replace a player like Scholes why don’t they look a little closer to home?
Whilst Alcantara and Fabregas are fantastic players and the latter is undoubtedly one of the most focused, committed, and determined professionals in the game, Jack Wilshere is probably the most mentally strong player I’ve seen emerge in England in the last ten years.
You could see when he returned this year how much Arsenal have missed him – they have quality and flair in abundance and always have.
Santi Cazorla was outstanding in his debut season, he was simply superb but that determination to succeed, that drive to win at all costs, that focus and concentration and, most of all, desire to play and give everything to the team – that is what Arsenal missed most in the 17 months Wilshere was sidelined.
It is for that exact reason that Jack Wilshere would be perfectly suited to replace Paul Scholes at Manchester United and its for that very same reason that he never ever will – he loves playing football and giving everything for the sake of the team and the fans – at Arsenal.
Jack Wilshere was brought up by Arsenal, just like Paul Scholes was brought up by Manchester United. It's his home and if the United legend's career is anything to go by, that's where he'll remain.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald