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Winning race for 15y/o starlet Cherki would be a major statement from Man Utd

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to The Telegraph, Manchester United are contemplating whether to make a move for Lyon’s 15-year-old starlet Mathis Rayan Cherki this summer.

What’s the word?

The report claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are very interested in the teenager, who can operate as an attacking midfielder or striker.

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It adds that with Cherki available for a move within the European Union on his 16th birthday on August 17, United are keen on beating off competition from the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus to his signature.

A statement of intent

The Red Devils’ transfer strategy in recent seasons has been notoriously clear-cut. The best of the best at whatever the price. As The Telegraph asserts, United have steered clear of getting involved in bidding wars for scholarship-aged players across the continent and instead focused on trying to scout British youth talent.

The last star United signed comparable to Cherki’s profile was Tahith Chong; the floppy-haired 19-year-old Dutchman who signed three seasons ago from Feyernoord. Since his arrival at Old Trafford though, Chong has made just the four first-team appearances. Cherki on the other hand could be on course for a quicker path to first-team action.

Despite being 15, the Frenchman already plays for Lyon’s U19s. In September of last year, he became the youngest goalscorer in the UEFA Youth League – the academy equivalent of the Champions League – when he scored against Manchester City.

At international level, Cherki has been capped twice by the France U16s and at such a tender age is exactly the kind of profile United should be targeting. Young with bags of potential and likely to cost a minimal fee.

Indeed, in just 260 minutes of UEFA Youth League football, Cherki showed an eye for goal with 14 attempts and was seemingly dangerous enough for him to be fouled seven times; an evident sign of a forward-thinking midfielder wanting to be proactive with his work on the ball.

Signing the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba might well have done well on the merchandise stands but on the pitch it has barely come to fruition. Muscling out competition from teams like Madrid and Barcelona to the signing of a 15-year-old might just be the statement United need in this new era.

Article title: Winning race for 15y/o starlet Cherki would be a major statement from Man Utd

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