Manchester United made two surprising deadline day announcements signing Amad Traore Diallo and Facundo Pellistri for a combined £29m initial fee.
Both Traore and Pellistri are 18-year-olds and will help United lay the ground for the next generational superstars. The club’s renowned academy has had a representative in every matchday squad since 1937.
There are a lot of commentary about United’s recent shift in their transfer policy – especially around their academy. They’ve made 19 teenage signings since the start of 2019 – suggesting a bigger picture is in works at Carrington.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, along with Head of First-Team Development Nicky Butt are doing a fantastic job with their youth program. Butt, who is also a part of Class of 92, understands the club very well and is aligned with United’s focus to combine youngsters with new recruits.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United made a lot of ‘diamond in the rough’ signings. Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Solskjaer himself are prime examples. Sir Alex’s risk taking ability and reliance on youngsters was supreme and always yielded sweet results for the club.
Other than Traore and Pellistri, United made another announcement in the eleventh hour: Willy Kambwala. He left Sochaux after United paid about £3.5m for the France Under-17 captain.
In August 2019, a £4.5m payment to Monaco for Hannibal was a statement signing for United’s youth program. United beat Arsenal, Liverpool and Barcelona to sign Hannibal and he’s taken the U18s and U23s by storm in his debut season.
French forward Noam Emeran was signed for a fee of around £80,000. Goalkeeper Johan Guadagno turned down Inter Milan and Anderlecht to join United.
Slovakian midfielder Martin Svidersky rejected Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Internazionale, and Borussia Dortmund and joined United for a £130,000 fee.
Bjorn Hardley and Dillon Hoogewerf were acquired from Breda and Ajax respectively. Goalkeeper Radek Vitek joins United’s illustrious goalkeeping talent from Sigma Olomouc. Highly-touted Norwegian forward Isak Hansen-Aarøen also joined as a 14-year-old from Tromso.
United made significant pressure in the UK too. Harvey Neville and Charlie McNeil – who left United to join City’s academy are back at United again. McNeil has 600 goals in his illustrious CV. Both see United as a good stage to develop themselves and McNeil, especially, is a one to watch out.
15-year-old Omari Forson left Tottenham in July 2019 and joined for a compensation fee of about £80,000. Young defender Logan Pye and striker Joe Hugill arrived from Sunderland in May. Hugill cost about £300,000 and snubbed Spurs and Arsenal.
United welcomed a wave of Spaniards – they signed Álvaro Fernández, Alejandro Garnacho, Marc Jurado and Mateo Mejia. Jurado rejected a contract extension at Barcelona. Fernandez left Real Madrid as his contract expired. Garnacho and Mejia left Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza respectively.
As we can see from the illustrious names – they are the best in their countries and turned down other clubs to join United. This says a lot about the massive improvement United have made in their recruitment and scouting system.
Last season, Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams had their breakout spells. It shows that Ole trusts the youth and is not afraid of making bold decisions and fast-track them into the first-team.
United has one of the best academies in world football and with so many youngsters joining the club from different cultures, it brings a unique set of players together to try and compete.
Here’s a list of 20 players which are mentioned above:
- Amad Traore
- Facundo Pellistri
- Isak Hansen-Aarøen
- Radek Vitek
- Bjorn Hardley
- Dillon Hoogewerf
- Mateo Mejia
- Marc Jurado
- Alejandro Garnacho
- Álvaro Fernández
- Martin Svidersky
- Willy Kambwala
- Noam Emeran
- Johan Guadagno
- Omari Forson
- Logan Pye
- Joe Hugill
- Charlie McNeil
- Harvey Neviile
Source: The Guardian