Friday, 4 March 2011

Why Man United need to quickly find a replacement for Paul Scholes

Manchester United are trying to persuade Paul Scholes to sign a contract extension. Recently the club have extended the deals of Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher and Micheal Carrick. But getting Paul Scholes' contract sorted is proving to be difficult for United.

There are a number of reports commenting that the stumbling block in the deal is the amount of games Paul Scholes wants to play. United want him to play most games. While Scholes doesn't feel he can play every game for the club. That is quite understandable, seeing Man United will normally play around two games in a week. With Scholes being 36, he will find it tough to maintain his fitness and keep up with the fast pace of the Premier League. Now, of course, even at 36, he has proved he can keep up with the electric pace of the Premier League. In his last two games, Paul Scholes has had a 91% successful passing completion rate. His last game for United was the fast tempo match against Chelsea. And even though the game was played with great pace ontinually played with great pace he still managed a fantastic 52 successful passes and only misplaced 5 passes in 70 minutes of football. Pretty impressive for a 36 year old, especially in the context of one of the highest quality matches in the Premier League.

But Paul Scholes worries that age will sooner or later get the better of his football. Its already becoming rather apparent. In his last three games Scholes has been withdrawn after the 70 minute mark. Its like what they say when playing young teenagers, 'don't play them too much or you will burn them out.' With Scholes it's similar, if he plays too much at the age of 36, it may cause long term injuries and could see his abilities suddenly decline.

Of course, Paul Scholes is a fantastic player. A once in a generation type of player. A player who has a brilliant first touch, a great eye for a pass and a tidy finish. Zinedine Zidane's once said "My toughest opponent? Scholes. He is undoubtedly the greatest player of his generation." Players like Scholes are hard to come by these days. I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson knows that too. But United need to find a suitable replacement for Paul Scholes.

For me Anderson is a good player, but whether he is a suitable replacement for Scholes is another question. Anderson can see a pass and understands the game well. But the jury is still out on his passing execution in the final third. Furthermore he lacks the physical strength to be able to control the centre of midfield, like Scholes does for United. Man United need someone who can run with the ball at their feet and someone who can see a pass and execute it in the final third. Now, there are plenty of other attributes this player needs in order to fill the void left by Paul Scholes. But United need to be willing to spend what it takes to get this type of player.

There have been rumours that Luka Modric has been identified as a possible replacement for Scholes. If Spurs do sell him to Man United, which could be possible, if Spurs fail to make the Champions League grade this season. United would have a player in a similar mould to Paul Scholes. Both Modric and Scholes have a brilliant first touch and have a fantastic long and short range passing abilties.

Man United seriously need to replace Scholes before he retires. Of course it would be lovely to see Paul Scholes carry on, simply because he is extremely unique player. But Scholes' time is coming to an end. If United want to make the transition of Scholes smooth, they need to dig into their pockets and find a suitable replacement for this sensational player. Yes, Scholes will be missed. But if United fail to replace him properly it could hinder their success. As the Man United's central midfield would lack a creative edge. Somthing which they have characteristically had for decades.

I expect Man United to find a suitable replacement for Scholes. The best clubs are the teams who can transition almost unnoticingly from one genereation to another. Sir Alex is a genius when it comes to replacing the stars of yesterday. Take David Beckham, he was replaced by a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. When Ronaldo left the United in 2009, Nani stepped up his game and it seemed United didnt even miss Ronaldo on the pitch. Two years later and Nani is seen as a world class player. So Sir Alex Ferguson is the best man to find a fitting replacement for Paul Scholes.Thierry Henry once said 'Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes.' Many of Scholes fellow footballers have nothing but respect and admiration for his abilities. But Scholes knows his time is coming to an end. Manchester United need to fill the void left by Scholes. Or Scholes' abilities will be sorely missed.

Scholes doesn't do much talking off the pitch, but boy, doesn't he do his talking on the pitch. He is certainly a gift to Manchester United.

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