Sir Alex Ferguson wanted a current Manchester City star to be Manchester United’s long-term replacement for Paul Scholes.
The Scot retired in 2013, but even then he pinpointed Ilkay Gundogan as a player who could fill the large boots Scholes left behind.
United scouts spent plenty of time watching both Gundogan and his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Marco Reus, however they never signed either of moved to Old Trafford.
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Instead, Gundogan remained a Dortmund player until the summer of 2016, when he become Pep Guardiola’s first signing at neighbours Manchester City.
Despite missing most of his first season at the Etihad after picking up a serious knee injury, Gundogan has made 69 appearances for City, scoring 11 goals and setting up 10, but it could have been so different.
Speaking to the Evening Standard,Rene Meulensteen explained what might have happened if the Scot had decided to carry on at the helm.
“If Fergie had carried on then we would have had the same squad,” he said. “We would have added some more quality, probably some more energy.
“We were looking at Gundogan from Dortmund and 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.”
The only midfielder United signed that summer, David Moyes’ only one in charge, was Marouane Fellaini, who still remains a United player now.
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