Back in 2019, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes said quite firmly that in order to play in midfield for the club, a player has to be good at a little bit of everything, an all-rounder.
At the time, he felt the club was lacking a midfielder capable of doing that.
Scholes told BT Sport in 2019: “There’s a lot made of midfielders nowadays, ‘are they a holding midfielder or an attacking midfielder?’, which does my head in a little bit.
“As a good midfielder you need to be able to do a bit of everything.
“As a central midfield player — especially at Man United — you have to be capable of doing everything. You have to be able to help your defence, you have to help in attack.”
“It’s not just about sitting and being a holding midfield player. It’s not just about getting forward. You have to have a bit of everything as players I played with had.”
Three years since those comments were made, it seems United are yet to address this key issue raised by their former player.
Interim boss Ralf Rangnick spoke about his midfield options earlier this month and would appear to share the same thoughts as Scholes, hinting strongly that United lacked an all-round midfielder.
Rangnick said: “It doesn’t help if there is a profile missing.
“We need to work and want to work with the players we have.
“We have shown we are able to keep clean sheets with these players but it’s also what we’re doing with the ball and without the ball.
“Again, we had too many giveaways, too many turnovers in that [Wolves] game, this is also an issue we spoke about with the team — that we shouldn’t make it too easy for the other team to be in possession of the ball especially when once we have the ball it’s also about responsible decision-making, making the right decision at the right moment.”
United have been linked with multiple midfielders, such as West Ham’s Declan Rice, Youri Tielemans from Leicester City and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, among others.
But the Reds boss is expecting a quiet window this month.
He added: “From my experience, winter is not the best time for sustainable transfers.
“With the quality of players we have here, it would in theory only make sense if you can get players who can guarantee you more quality. From experience, this will be difficult in the winter.”
Rangnick might not get what he needs, or what Scholes gets, in January but United must ensure they pursue the right profile of target for the summer.