Date:24th June 2011 at 1:30am
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Paul Scholes goal against Barcelona

The Ginger Prince shows Barcelona who's boss in 2008

The transfer window will always bring the over-hyped gossip, however with the sad but inevitable retirement of Paul Scholes there has been extra speculation surrounding United.

Will there be a replacement for the midfield maestro?

The first name linked was that of Wesley Sneijder. Sneijder is a player who has usually taken up a more attacking role than Scholes did. Scholes would sit in the centre of midfield and dictate the play through his passing. This made Scholes a key component in the United team. Fans would spend large parts of matches with the thought ‘give it to Scholes’ running through their heads, knowing his vision would pick out a pass no one else could see, or at the least fire a shoot to challenge the keeper.

Whilst Sneijder is an exciting prospect for the United line-up he would not quite be a Scholes replacement. I’m not too sure whether, like Scholes fitted so well into, Sneijder could play in a simple midfield two. His typical role is to play ahead of the midfielders and behind the strikers, this could either see him playing as a frustrated centre midfielder or an attacking midfielder with a gap left behind him. This is why I am not sure he will end up at Old Trafford next season. Even if Sneijder does come to United he would not quite play an exact Scholes role.

The next ‘Scholes replacement’ lined up was Luka Modric. Again another exciting prospect with great passing and playmaking abilities. Whilst I think Modric could sit in a centre two more than Sneijder I still don’t think he will be arriving this Summer. The news that Chelsea had a bid rejected was not followed by news of United making a bid, and so it may be possible United did not value him quite so high. Modric has also expressed his wish to stay in London and so presumably ruling out a move to United.

One possibility, of which I have already seen many strong views from United fans, is that of Charlie Adam. Whether he played for a club who was relegated last season or not he did have a great passing ability and had Blackpool stayed up would have been the hero. Whilst at United he would no longer be a big fish in a small pond and may not out shine teammates as he did at Blackpool this may not be what United need. Adam would presumably be a squad player at United who could offer a different perspective to the midfield.

In my last article ( I wrote about the possibility of Rafael and Fabio being used as secondary attackers in a Barcelona-esque play. In this instance there may be no need for a Scholes style player. A more defensive player such as Lassana Diarra may be the favoured option allowing the attacking wingers and full backs more freedom when going forward.

Adam could be a useful squad player who could provide the attacking passing as Scholes did if needed. If SAF does opt to move for Adam then he would provide the option of bringing him on off the bench to change United’s style of play and give them options to attack from another area of the pitch.

I don’t really believe Ferguson is looking for a replacement for Paul Scholes, we also have to remember it has been a while since Scholes was a permanent fixture in the United midfield. The team is in a period of transition and rather than comparing the new players to the old I think Ferguson is looking towards a new style of team. If the big money is spent on Sneijder then this would be an exciting prospect but would not be a replacement for the Scholes role. However if this was not the case and Adam came in this would allow versatility in the team and the ability to change the focus of attack.

I do not think any new centre midfield arrival, if there is one, should be compared to Scholes. A new United team is evolving and we were lucky to be able to enjoy Scholes with him playing his whole career at United but now it appears it is time to move on with a new midfield set up.

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