In a scathing article in the Independent, Paul Scholes has once more spoken out about the club he devoted himself to. In the article, Scholes expresses his deep concerns at the state of affairs this summer, and the farce the club is turning itself into. Since retiring, the normally shy and reserved Scholes has been quite outspoken at how the club has gone into decline in the last 15 months since winning a historic twentieth title. A lack of quality performances and signings have been a cause of real concern for the United legend. He starts by talking about Kroos and Fabregas. Scholes, whilst coaching at the club, was asked who we should sign this summer of the two of them, Scholes wanted both.
Quite why the club didn’t is lost on me. Scholes believes it’s the lack of quality signings like these two are what is putting us in peril, peril so deep we could end up falling into the wilderness as Liverpool did in the 90’s. Five players. That is the prognosis. And the five Scholes believe would improve us most certainly would. Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Angel di Maria, Mats Hummels and Raphaël Varane are all players of quality, players without the ‘potential’ tag (Varane has proven his worth for France and Madrid despite being young) that could come in and do the job we need. To sign four players from Real Madrid would be a big ask, and an even bigger cheque, but the quality they would bring would be worth every penny.
As Scholes points out (much as I have before but for free), commercial success depends very much on success on the pitch. It is shocking to think we are not on the level of Chelsea and Manchester City, but even more so that we don’t even cut it with Arsenal and Liverpool. Commercially we dwarf them all; Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, City, none of them come close to our commercial pull, but what they lack in that area they more than make up for with quality on the pitch. It’s wonderful being able to say ‘we have a new noodle company sponsoring us’, but Chelsea can say ‘we have Cesc Fabregas’. The players Scholes named would give us what we need.
Angel di Maria has the pace and skill to excite fans, he can beat players and create moments of magic. Who else is there for that? Januzaj can, but is still young and raw, Scholes points out we’ve always had that player capable of ridiculous moments of magic. Khedira and Alonso are rocks in the middle. Khedira has just won the World Cup and Champions League. He is brimming with confidence and seemingly available. Alonso may have played for Liverpool, but when he did I stand by him being the only player worthy of a place in our side. His range of passing is outrageous, his reading of the game also stunning. With Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Asier Illarramendi, games may be hard to come by, and as he enters the dusk of his career he won’t be wanting to sit out on the bench.
If we can get him, we should. Hummels speaks for himself. He would be the influence we need at the back, and also the perfect role model for the likes of Jones and Blackett to model their game on. Varane is young, but very, very good. A player that, if signed, could be with us for a very long time and could become a legend. Scholes is right about Smalling and Jones in the 3-5-2, they both look exposed. Jones has never pushed on from this ‘potential’ tag he arrived with. Perhaps a move to midfield – as suggested by the Ginger Genius – would be beneficial for Jones. Smalling is another who has disappointed. And another who looks very exposed and has serious injury concerns.
Blackett needs someone to learn from, Evans can only take him so far, but if he is to progress as his early performances have suggested then he needs a solid influence. I agree with Scholes fully. People have accused him of moaning since he retired, but how can you put a positive spin on what’s happening? I think moaning in general has increased ten fold since Sir Alex retired as the situation has worsened at the same rate of knots. Unlikely as signing the five players Scholes named is, it’s imperative we make signings of that nature or his prophecy may come true. It’s a real, real concern with what we’ve turned into, and those responsible need to stand up and be counted in the next 11 days.