Paul Scholes stunned a lot of people this season when coming out of retirement to return for Manchester United in January.
His return was deemed a sign of desperation by the club, but Scholes has since proven to be an integral member of the squad in an enthralling Premier League title race. It would hardly be surprising if Scholes decides to extend his return into next season, but eventually there will come a day when the midfield maestro leaves the game permanently.
While his return has been a huge boost for United this season, it also provides Sir Alex Ferguson with a second opportunity to find an heir to Scholes' midfield throne.
Before we go any further, let's make one thing perfectly clear. Nobody will ever truly replace Paul Scholes. Even if United go out and break the bank on a world-class midfielder, he will never be an exact replacement.
Scholes is one of the most unique and complete midfielders to have ever graced the game. End of discussion. To find someone who possesses all of his attributes is simply impossible.
Nevertheless, while he may be irreplaceable, the club will still need to acquire a new midfielder if they are to remain competitive and strive for improvement. There are a number of suitable candidates that United will most likely pursue this summer, many of whom have been linked with a transfer to Old Trafford already. Some are even already at the club.
Only one midfielder, possibly two, would be required in the summer to prepare for life after Scholes. These seven midfielders would be suitable options to begin the transition in preparing a squad that could compete for years to come.
Be sure to comment below on which of these options you would want to see grace the pitch of Old Trafford next season.