Indeed, the Red Devils produced their own crop of world-class talents in the famed Class of ’92, featuring the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham, but have proved equally successful in cherry-picking prodigious starlets from other clubs and nurturing them into the beautiful game’s biggest stars, such as Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
So with that in mind, Football FanCast have decided to run the rule over some of world football’s latest young prodigies to receive the honour of being mooted as a potential transfer target of the Old Trafford outfit.
Does this list of FIVE world prodigies, all heralded for Ballon d’Or levels of greatness and all reportedly on the Red Devils’ radar, include another Ronaldo, Rooney or Ferdinand? Let us know by commenting below!
Hot off the press this morning, The Daily Star claim Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have been running the rule over Benfica hot shot Goncalo Guedes.
The teenager winger only has 17 senior appearances under his belt but is so highly rated in Portugal that he’s already been dubbed ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’.
It may seem like a rather hyperbolic comparison but the 18 year-old has enjoyed good form this term, bagging two goals in eight Primeira Liga outings whilst netting against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League back in September.
Barcelona are also keen on the Portugal U21, whose contract includes a rather steep £40million release clause.
Athletic Bilbao prodigy Aymeric Laporte is no stranger to the Premier League’s rumour columns and since the start of the season has been particularly strongly linked with Chelsea and Manchester United – in no small part due to both clubs being in the market for potential defensive reinforcements.
The France U21 is widely regarded as one of the most promising defenders in European football, having already registered 119 appearances for the Basque outfit at just 21 years of age.
The 6 foot 2 centre-half, who also possesses the speed and technical quality to fill in at left back when required, has been in good form yet again this term, averaging 1.9 tackles, 3.4 interceptions, 3.9 clearances and 2.6 aerial duels per match from his nine La Liga outings.
Bilbao are incredibly reluctant to see Laporte leave, however, and have insisted any potential suitor must activate his £35million release clause.
Another prodigious centre-half known to be on the Old Trafford radar is PSG’s Marquinhos.
The Brazil international is one of the most exciting youngsters in world football but hasn’t quite enjoyed the impact expected since moving to Parc de Princes for a whopping €31.4million in summer 2013.
Indeed, although the 21 year-old’s ability remains without doubt, as a phenomenal athlete with fantastic technical quality and an astute reading of the game, he faces rather formidable competition for a starting berth from countrymen David Luiz and Thiago Silva.
Manchester United are believed to have seen a £30million bid turned down in January but remain interested in the South American. Premier League champions Chelsea, however, are also known admirers.
Measuring in at a lofty 6 foot 3, Red Star Belgrade star Marko Grujic has been compared to Chelsea’s midfield monolith Nemanja Matic.
The 19 year-old first drew attention whilst lifting the U20 World Cup with Serbia during the summer, leading Manchester United to execute a scouting trip for last month’s Belgrade derby – where they watched the teenager open the scoring with a 30-yard piledriver.
But the Red Devils will have to act quickly if they want to stop Grujic signing for one of their rivals. PSG are also known admirers, whilst Chelsea are believed to have already tabled a £2.8million bid for the 18-cap youth international.
After bagging ten goals and seven assists in just 23 Serie A starts last season, Manchester United saw a £29million bid for Felipe Anderson rejected during the summer – despite allegedly agreeing personal terms with the Lazio star.
One can only assume the Brazil international is still very much a fixture on the Old Trafford radar, following a superlative run of five goals in his last nine appearances across all competitions.
Louis van Gaal wants “creative, speedy players in attack” and that’s exactly what the 22 year-old is – a relentlessly quick winger boasting trickery and netting prowess in abundance.
Lazio are clearly reluctant to sell, however, and will feel under no obligation to do so with Anderson’s contract not set to expire until 2020.