London: Former midfielder Paul Scholes says new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has a "massive task" on his hands and questions whether the club`s hierarchy are up to the job of restoring the club`s fortunes.
Scholes also believes Bayern Munich`s Toni Kroos should be Van Gaal`s first signing as he begins the rebuilding job at the 20-times English champions following a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League this season.
"He`s been at the biggest clubs in the world but he has a major job on his hands at Man United," Scholes said in his column on betting website Paddy Power on Thursday.
"It`s a massive task and there`s a big gap to fill to catch Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool next season.
"United are a long way behind. If Van Gaal gets them to the Champions League, it`ll be a start."
The club`s executive vice-chairman Edward Woodward was instrumental in selecting Dutch national manager Van Gaal following the sacking of David Moyes near the end of a woeful season for the Old Trafford club.
While supporting the appointment, Scholes said Woodward had much to prove and was facing a crucial summer in the transfer market after failing to strengthen the side last year.
"Edward Woodward has an awful lot to prove this time that he`s good enough at his job," Scholes said.
"He has to bring the players in that the new manager wants. It`s obvious that last year he didn`t manage to do that. If he doesn`t, we are not going to get anywhere near the top.
"The first player I`d bring in is Toni Kroos. He`s a top-class central midfield player but United need five or six to get anywhere near the top of the Premier League again."
Van Gaal will have Scholes`s former team mate Ryan Giggs as his assistant next season but Scholes, who is held in similarly high esteem by the United fans after a glittering career, said he is not likely to be part of the backroom staff.
"I`ve not spoken to Edward Woodward. I came back for Ryan Giggs for the last few games to try to help out but I`m not waiting for a phone call and don`t expect to be at Old Trafford next season," Scholes said.
Scholes was also critical of the decision to sack Moyes less than a season after he was chosen to succeed Alex Ferguson.
"The players did not perform last season," he said. "The manager was a little negative with the teams he put out but I wasn`t around the place in training until Ryan asked me back, so I can`t judge properly.
"David Moyes took a lot of stick, but I believe he`s a top manager. I`d question if 10 months was enough time."