Sir Alex Ferguson identified Manchester City star to replace Paul Scholes

Sir Alex Ferguson had identified Ilkay Gundogan as the perfect Paul Scholes replacement at according to his former coach Rene Meulensteen.

Gundogan emerged as one of the brightest young midfield talents during his spell at Borussia Dortmund, helping the club win the Bundesliga in 2012 and reach the final a year later where he scored in a defeat to .

Eventually he outgrew Dortmund and earned a move to Manchester City in 2016 as one of ’s first major signings but had Ferguson decided against retiring in 2013, he might have ended up playing for their rivals instead.

‘If Fergie had carried on then we would have added some more quality, probably some more energy,’ Meulensteen told the Evening Standard.

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‘I wouldn’t say it was an ageing squad, it was a mature squad. I’m sure if Fergie would have stayed the continuity and stability would’ve been there and United would’ve competed for the title again.

‘We were looking at Gundogan from Dortmund and (Marco) Reus at that time. We were looking at Gundogan – someone similar [to Scholes], who could keep ticking the ball over, thinks quick and has tempo.’

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Ferguson was replaced by David Moyes after delivering the Premier League title in 2012-13 and his successor was keen to sign a central midfielder that summer with Toni Kroos, Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas among the players linked with a move.

Ultimately, Moyes ended up signing Marouane Fellaini from his former club Everton and while the Belgian has proved a useful member of the squad in subsequent seasons, he clearly wasn’t the playmaker that the Scot had originally been after.

Jose Mourinho eventually looked to solve United’s creativity issue in midfield by signing Paul Pogba for a then world-record £89m from Juventus in 2016 although the pair’s relationship is said to be under strain at present.

Gundogan, meanwhile, has enjoyed a positive spell with City, playing his part as they won the Premier League with a record points total as well as the Carabao Cup. The Germany international has started all but one of their Premier League games this season.

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