Manchester United need director of football like Edwin van der Sar, says Paul Scholes


Paul Scholes believes his former teammate Edwin van der Sar would be the perfect director of football for Manchester United.

United struggled to complete deals in problem positions during the summer transfer window, and their sluggish start to the season – including a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur – has turned the spotlight on the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward once more.

Scholes says that while Woodward is talented at “making a lot of money” for Manchester United, he doesn’t have the necessary “football knowledge” to succeed in the transfer market, and would benefit from a director of football by his side.

Former United players like Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher and even Scholes himself have been touted as possible candidates for such a role, but he believes former goalkeeper Van der Sar would be the best fit.

“Edwin van der Sar would be perfect,” Scholes told Stadium Astro. “He’s done that job at Ajax, it was always a role he wanted. He’s been to university and studied for that role. The likes of Rio and Fletch are more consultancy, similar to me really, someone to ring up and say ‘what do you think of this player?’”  

Scholes also criticised the signing of Edinson Cavani. The Uruguay international has barely played football this year after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and although he was free to sign, is costing exorbitant wages each week.

“Obviously in he’s day he’s been a top-quality centre-forward, but he’s 33, he’s not played a lot of football for PSG last season. Five or six years ago, great signing, he’d take us on to the next level, but I just don’t think so [now]. He should be a loan signing if you’re struggling without a centre forward, similar to what Henrik Larsson did for us [in 2007]. That’s what I see Cavani as, not a 33-year-old coming to sign a two-year contract. I find it very strange.”

Of United’s existing forward line, led by Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, Scholes is concerned they do not possess the qualities of an orthodox No 9 and says United need Tottenham’s Harry Kane or Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland, rather than Haaland’s Dortmund teamamte Jadon Sancho, the player who has been heavily linked to United with a £100m transfer.

“They are exceptionally talented lads, we all know that,” Scholes said of United’s young strike-force. “The problem with Manchester United’s forwards is that none of them is an actual centre forward. Martial almost conned us into thinking he was towards the end of last season, he scored so many goals and was good, but he’s started the season quite poor again which makes you think he isn’t. 

“I think you need a top-class centre-forward – Kane or Haaland. I think Haaland is sensational, he will be up there with your Ronaldos and Messis possibly, he’s that good from what I’ve seen of him so far. That’s why I never thought Sancho was the right type of player because we’ve got three of that type of player anyway, so I wasn’t that disappointed [when it fell through]. He’s a brilliant player, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t think there was any need for him this year.” 

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