Luka Modric has been singled out as the ideal replacement for Paul Scholes - by the Manchester United legend himself.
Scholes decided to finally hang up his boots in 2013 after a glorious career at Old Trafford where he made 718 appearances and scored 155 goals. He also won 11 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
Midfield has been a major problem for Manchester United for some time - however they came tantalisingly close to solving the problem in one fell swoop back in 2012. Modric, who was still at Tottenham, appeared keen on leaving White Hart Lane and then-boss Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him to replace Scholes.
However the deal never came to fruition because Manchester United were reluctant to do business with Spurs after being put through the wringer during negotiations for Dimitar Berbatov which went down to the last few hours on deadline day in 2008.
Modric has established himself as a key part of the Real Madrid starting XI, and Scholes believes Manchester United missed a trick by not pushing to land the diminutive Croatian. "Luka Modric is the man for me,” said the former England ace after Real Madrid's win over Liverpool in the Champions League this week.
“He can sit in there and can control games. He can bring people into play, he can burst forward. Some of his runs have been fantastic.
“He played a fantastic pass to Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo just stopped a little, but if he’d have carried on it would’ve been a great chance. I just love watching him play.”
Ferguson, who retired last year after more than 26 years at the helm at Manchester United, has previously expressed his belief that Modric was the perfect replacement for Scholes.
"Scholes and Modric are both intelligent footballers," he said. “They both influence their teams as well so it is a reasonable comparison.
“I don’t think they are identical players, but they have the same qualities in terms of controlling a game. “Their passing consistency is good and the one thing people underestimate about Modric is that he has terrific stamina.”
Although Modric would have been the ideal man to step into Scholes' shoes, they are seemingly taking a different approach to solving their midfield issues by targeting the likes of Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman - players more in the mould of Roy Keane than the Ginger Magician.
The Red Devils also invested close to £29 million in order to land Ander Herrera over the summer, although given how integral Modric has become to Madrid's success there's no doubt that he could improve Louis van Gaal's team. Any future deal seems highly unlikely either, so it seems as though Modric will always be the one who got away.
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