​Former Manchester United first team coach Rene Meulensteen has said that Sir Alex Ferguson viewed Ilkay Gundogan as the perfect player to fill the void left by Paul Scholes' retirement. 

Ferguson, who retired from management in 2013, was looking at Gundogan to fill that midfield role. The midfielder eventually joined Manchester City in 2016, becoming Pep Guardiola's first signing. 

The former Red Devils' coach also said that apart from the German, United were also keeping a keen eye on his countryman and club teammate, winger Marco Reus. 

Eventually, with Ferguson deciding to end his management career, United chose to appoint David Moyes, who had other midfielders like Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas in his mind. 

Speaking to the ​Evening Standard, Meulensteen said, "If Fergie had carried on then we would have had the same squad. We would have added some more quality, probably some more energy." 

He continued, "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 English midfielder had retired after the 2010/11 season, eventually returning to football at Sir Alex Ferguson's behest in January 2012 and playing till the end of the 2013 season. 

Manchester United have signed many midfielders since his retirement, with Paul Pogba thought to be the man to effectively perform the role Scholes used to. However, it is quite clear that the Frenchman is yet to show that he can be entrusted with that responsibility.