Manchester United spent much of the summer chasing a lost cause in the form of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with the Red Devils having continued to pursue the highly-rated Dutchman despite his apparent reluctance to leave the Camp Nou.
Reports as far back as May had suggested that incoming boss Erik ten Hag was keen to reunite with the 25-year-old at Old Trafford, having coached the impressive playmaker during their time together at Ajax.
Despite that previous connection, the play himself appeared to have no real desire to secure a reunion, with United’s lack of Champions League football and recent turbulence having reportedly been factors in the 44-cap gem’s unwillingness to move.
Although the Premier League side were able to strike an agreement for a fee of around €85m (£72m) in July, there was little further movement with regards to a deal – despite the La Liga side’s desire to sell – with deadline day subsequently coming and going without a late swoop being made.
Failure to secure that long-term target after a persistent approach left those at the Theatre of Dreams looking a little red-faced, while perhaps more importantly, it left new boss Ten Hag without a player he had seemingly been so desperate to sign.
In need of a progressive, midfield asset like the Netherlands international, the 52-year-old could well promote from within the club to find an ideal alternative, with young Charlie Savage a potential talent that he can mould over the coming years.
As he managed to do with De Jong – who became a key figure in Amsterdam after his appointment in 2017 – Ten Hag could well develop the teenager into a real asset for his side, with the 19-year-old no doubt having the talent to force his way firmly into the first-team fold.
The left-footed gem – who is the son of former United academy graduate Robbie Savage – has already had a taste of senior action after featuring off the bench in a Champions League dead-rubber against Young Boys last term during Ralf Rangnick’s time in charge.
While that has been the £540k-rated starlet’s sole competitive outing at first-team level to date, he did also catch the eye during the club’s recent pre-season tour, notably impressing in the 4-0 triumph over Liverpool.
That outing showcased the full array of his quality, as he notably produced a “Maradona turn” – in the words of his father – against Mohamed Salah on the edge of his own box, calmly wheeling away from the Egyptian in a manner that belied his years.
Dubbed “very composed” as a result by journalist David McDonnell, the Wales U19 international has seemingly caught the attention of his manager due to his ability in possession, with a more prominent role potentially in the offing with United competing on a number of fronts this season.
It would potentially be a gamble were Ten Hag to turn the emerging prospect in the near future, although he could well find his next De Jong by doing so.