Arguably, the most important position in a football team, central midfield has been neglected of investment for the best part of seven years at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson splashed £24 million on the signing of Robin van Persie, a signing that practically won United the 2012/2013 Premier League title, however, at risk of blaspheming the deity of Sir Alex, may have been the Scotsman's shortcut to a triumphant retirement.
The irony for Manchester United, is that for all the speculation and failed transfer pursuits of players such as Anders Herrera and Cesc Fabregas, United have the perfect replacement for Paul Scholes already in their team: Wayne Rooney.
Rooney is one of the only players who has showed, consistently, that he has all the skills that it takes to replace Scholes as Manchester United's creative midfield force.
If United are to pursue with a 4-2-3-1 formation, Louis van Gaal's close bond with Van Persie and United's £37 million acquisition of Juan Mata mean that Rooney would be best suited to playing in the two behind the front four rather than leading United's attack.
United have a choice of Danny Welbeck, Van Persie and Javier Hernandez to lead the line, which could result in Rooney dropping back.
Van Gaal also has a number of options to fill the three positions behind the striker. Both Mata and Shinji Kagawa have proved their best position is playing in the central no.10 role, which Rooney currently occupies. Van Gaal has also shown that he does not hesitate in giving youth a chance in his sides and Adnan Januzaj will be looking to establish himself as a regular starter after his break through season.
It is also important to note some of United's transfer targets. The Guardian reports that Van Gaal has given a list of targets to Ed Woodward including names such as Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos. This is also in addition to stars such as Edinson Cavani and Marco Reus who have continually been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Whilst it is important for the United faithful to not get ahead of themselves and think that Van Gaal is going to bring in three or four top rate attacking players, a couple of fresh faces added to United's attack could mean that Rooney may have to drop back into a deeper position possibly alongside a player like Kevin Strootman, William Carvalho or Alex Song.
For a large part United's hugely disappointing season, Rooney was playing central midfield. A combination between a lack of David Moyes' tactical discipline and Rooney's hunger to make an impact on games meant that much of his play was based around the middle of the pitch, tracking back to help retrieve the ball for his side and trying to start attacks around the centre circle.
United's failure to bring in a consistent performer in the middle has meant that Rooney has been playing as both a central midfielder and a striker, ultimately failing to complete either role efficiently whilst leading to a congestion of creative forces with Mata, Kagawa and Januzaj.
Van Gaal will bring in an increased level of discipline to United and the favourable treatment Rooney received from Moyes may well be a thing of the past.
The former Everton man has all the skills Scholes exhibited so artfully. He has a range of passing that is second to none at United, he has the ability to drift into areas around the edge of the box unmarked and a fierce shot to ensure that he causes damage in those areas.
Rooney's work rate has never been called into question and at the age of 28 he still has the dynamism to play in central midfield. He also has a maturity to his game and a creative vision that has only been bettered in a United shirt over the past twenty years by the great ginger genius.
The only other player who could fill Scholes' boots would be Toni Kroos, however, the likeliness of United bringing in one of Bayern's best players is very minimal given a lack of Champions League football to offer. One can't help but feel Kroos' flirtation with United is simply a bargaining tool for a bumper contract.
It is now time for Rooney to accept that for the greater good of his team a move to a deeper role in central midfield would be beneficial for both his career and his club.
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