Manchester United great Paul Scholes has admitted he is “scared” about the direction in which the former are heading and has called on manager Louis van Gaal to sign four players from Real Madrid to stop the rot. Scholes said he fears United could enter the soccer wilderness the way Liverpool did after their last league title in 1990 unless they “arrest their decline” fast.
His damning article in the Independent saw Scholes call on United vice-chairman Ed Woodward to make five new signings before the 1st September transfer window deadline. He wrote: “Let me be clear: I am sick of having to criticize the club which I gave my life to as a footballer. But United need to arrest their decline.”
The five players Scholes named were Real winger and current United target Ángel Di María, along with his teammates Raphaël Varane, Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso. The fifth player he wants United to sign is another long-time target of United, Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.
Scholes added that the issues at Old Trafford have been long-standing and he should have realized them when at the age of 38 he was still a regular in the side with no pressure on him for his place. Scholes’ views will be echoed by United fans around the world who are growing increasingly despondent at United’s fall from grace. Just 15-months-ago, Sir Alex Ferguson was celebrating his 13th and final Premier League title. Since then United have failed to even come close to winning silverware having suffered a disastrous season under successor David Moyes. The latter’s failure to lead United to a Champions League spot saw him fired after 10 months in the job with Ryan Giggs taking over for the last four games of the season before van Gaal took the post.
However, United fans were given a slight boost yesterday when the club signed left-sided Argentina international defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting in Portugal. Known for his skill and strength, Rojo is the type of player United have been lacking and van Gaal is expected to blood the player on Sunday when United travel to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. Rojo is most likely to fill in on the left side of the back three or in the left-back position in the absence of summer signing Luke Shaw.
While Rojo is seen as a progressive signing for United, van Gaal knows he is just one of a number of new additions needed at Old Trafford. With United’s front line among the best in the Premier League, the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie need support behind them if they are to have any chance of firing United back into contention of winning anything.
Old Trafford was a fortress only 15 months ago, but since then, even the so-called weakest sides in the Premier League have traveled to United almost expecting to come away with three points. Scholes is scared about the future of United and now the pressure is on van Gaal to put the fear factor back into the visiting teams and make Old Trafford and United as daunting a prospect as they were under Ferguson.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd