Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to bring Ilkay Gundogan to Old Trafford.

Former Manchester United manager and football legend Sir Alex Ferguson was keen on signing German international Ilkay Gundogan to replace Paul Scholes before he retired, former first-team coach Rene Meulensteen has claimed.

The legendary Scotsman called time on his managerial career in 2013, after having masterminded another Premier League title campaign with United in 2012-13 – the club’s 20th league triumph. It was also midfielder Scholes’ last season at the club, after he was coaxed out of retirement by the manager a year before.

And Meulensteen has claimed that had Ferguson been in charge of club post that triumphant campaign, he had set his sights on signing Gundogan, who used to play for Borussia Dortmund back then, in order to replace Scholes.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, the former first-team coach 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.

“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.”

Wanted by United, ended up at City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Wanted by United, ended up at City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Manchester United since the Scottish manager’s departure in 2013, with the managers that succeeded him spending millions in transfer fees, but struggling to guide the team back to the pinnacle of English football.

Having replaced Sir Alex with David Moyes, the club failed to recruit a number of key transfer targets like Cesc Fabregas and Gareth Bale and ended up bringing in Marouane Fellaini from Everton on the deadline day. Moyes was sacked just ten months into his tenure at the club, as they finished a lowly seventh in the table.

Things failed to improve a great deal under Louis van Gaal, although United did win the FA Cup in 2015-16 season, before the Dutchman was let go of, to make way for Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese splashed the cash in his first season at the club, breaking the club transfer record to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in a £89 million deal. The Frenchman may have won the UEFA Europa League and the League Cup in his first season, but has stirred up a lot of controversy of late amid rumours of a move to Barcelona.

In the same summer, Gundogan left Borussia Dortmund to join United’s arch-rivals Manchester City for £20 million and has grown into a key cog in Pep Guardiola’s side. The 27-year old has accumulated 69 appearances for the Cityzens, winning a Premier League title, a League Cup and the FA Community Shield in the process.