Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Every brilliant teenager Man Utd have been linked with as Ratcliffe ignites bold new transfer strategy: Neves, Yoro…

Vitor Roque at Barcelona, Joao Neves at Benfica and Leny Yoro at Lille.

Vitor Roque, Joao Neves Benfica and Leny Yoro have all been linked with moves to Man Utd.

Manchester United are looking at a number of brilliant young players as part of a new recruitment strategy led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS group completed their 25 per cent takeover of the club earlier this year and will now take control of football operations at Old Trafford.

United have made a lot of marquee signings in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era but that looks set to change in the upcoming window.

“I would rather sign the next [Kylian] Mbappe rather than spend a fortune buying success,” Ratcliffe said on the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club Podcast.

“It’s not that clever buying Mbappe. Anyone could figure that one out. More challenging is to find the next Mbappe or next Jude Bellingham or next Roy Keane.”

We’ve taken a look at every teenager that United have been linked with since INEOS completed their partial takeover of the club.


Leny Yoro

United are in the market for a new centre-back and Yoro is considered to be one of the best young defenders in Europe.

The 18-year-old has already made over 50 first-team appearances for Lille and TEAMtalk understands that he has attracted interest from United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

While Lille want to keep their prized asset, they may have to sell him in the summer as his contract is currently due to expire in 2025.

Mikayil Faye

Faye joined Barcelona from Croatian side NK Kustosija in a £4.3million deal in the summer of 2023 and has been a key player for their B team.

The centre-back, who can also play at left-back, is yet to feature for their first team but recently made his international debut for Senegal and marked the occasion by scoring a stunning goal against Gabon.

According to the Daily Mail, United, Arsenal, Inter, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are all tracking the 19-year-old, who is reportedly valued at £25million.

Pau Cubarsi

A La Masia academy graduate, Cubarsi made his Barcelona debut in January 2024 and has now cemented his place in Xavi’s starting lineup.

According to Spanish outlet Sport, United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have all been impressed by the 17-year-old centre-back.

But he’s now committed his future to Barcelona by signing a new long-term contract, which includes a £430.6million release clause.

Dean Huijsen

Huijlsen left Juventus and joined Roma on a short-term loan deal in January, and he has put in some brilliant performances in the heart of their defence.

“He is one of the highest quality prospects in European football at this age level,” former Roma manager Jose Mourinho said. “He will be a great footballer in the future.”

According to reports in Italy, United have been scouting the 19-year-old but they could face competition from Arsenal, Newcastle, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

Dean Huijsen, Roma, January 2024

Dean Huijsen in action for Roma

Aaron Anselmino

Anselmino broke into the Boca Juniors first team in June 2023 and has formed a brilliant centre-back partnership with former United defender Marcos Rojo.

The 19-year-old is considered to be one of the most promising players in South America and has already attracted attention from a host of top European clubs.

TyC Sports claim that United have opened talks with Boca, but the Argentinian side have now removed the £18.5million release clause from his contract.


Joao Neves

Since making his Benfica debut in December 2022, Neves has become one of the most sought-after young midfielders in European football.

He has been linked with moves to United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Benfica are under no pressure to part ways with the 19-year-old, whose contract at the Estadio da Luz runs until June 2028 and includes a £103million release clause.

According to The Daily Mirror, United could activate that clause as Ratcliffe has given the green light for the club to make a record-breaking offer for the Portugal international.

IN DEPTHWho is Man Utd target Joao Neves – A deep dive into the potential Casemiro successor

Desire Doue

Rennes’ academy has produced some incredible players over the years and Doue is the latest talent from their conveyor belt.

“Desire’s technical, percussive and physical qualities are quite incredible,” Rennes team-mate Baptiste Santamaria told Eurosport France.

“When he becomes more consistent, he’ll be unplayable. For his age, he’s the most gifted youngster I’ve seen in my career.”

According to TBR Football, United, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Newcastle have all been watching the attacking midfielder.

Daniel Rigge

Rigge initially came up through the ranks at Manchester City before joining West Ham United’s academy in the summer of 2022.

The attacking midfielder has been in excellent form in the Under-18 Premier League, registering 13 goals and six assists for the Hammers in 2023/24.

Tottenham are reportedly leading the race for his signature but ESPN claim that United and Arsenal are also tracking the 18-year-old.

Archie Gray

Gray has enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season at Leeds United, making 44 league appearances and winning the EFL’s Championship Young Player of the Year award.

While the 18-year-old is probably best utilised as a holding midfielder, he’s showcased his versatility by operating at right-back in 2023/24.

According to FootballTransfers, Manchester United have expressed an interest in Gray. But the report adds there are fears about whether he would accept a move to Old Trafford due to his family’s history with Leeds.

Chris Rigg

A Sunderland academy graduate, Rigg became their youngest-ever outfield player when he made his debut aged 15 and 203 days in January 2023.

The midfielder has since become a key figure at the Stadium of Light, registering three goals in 22 appearances in all competitions in 2023/24.

According to the Northern Echo, United have had a scouting presence at the vast majority of his games and they are set to table a formal offer for the 16-year-old.

Simone Pafundi 

Pafundi came through the ranks at Udinese and made his Serie A debut against Salernitana in May 2022, just two months after his 16th birthday.

The attacking midfielder is also the third-youngest debutant in the history of the Italy national team, having been capped by the Azzurri in November 2022.

He joined FC Lausanne-Sport – who are owned by INEOS – on a one-year loan deal in January 2024 and the deal includes an option to buy for £12.7million.

According to Tuttomercatoweb, the Swiss outfit will trigger that clause but could look to move the player on in a deal that could ultimately see him end up at Old Trafford.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking at a deal to bring Simone Pafundi to Manchester United this summer

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking at a deal to bring Simone Pafundi to Manchester United this summer

Assan Ouedraogo

The Schalke midfielder has just celebrated his 18th birthday but his tender years have not prevented him from enjoying an outstanding breakthrough season with the Bundesliga 2 side.

Already standing at an imposing 6ft 4in, the midfielder is regarded as one of German football’s most outstanding prospects, having been capped at Under-17 level on multiple occasions and now being strongly linked with a summer move.

And while TEAMtalk sources have suggested Bayern Munich are taking a strong interest, Sky Germany has reported that United are also preparing a big offer of their own having scouted the player towards the back end of the 2023/24 campaign.

Valued at around €20million, it’s reported United could look to sweeten any deal by allowing him to spend the 2024/25 campaign on loan at the Veltins Arena to further his football education.

Sverre Nypan

Nypan became Rosenborg’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut for the club at the age of 15 years and 322 days old in November 2022.

The Norway Under-19 international is now an integral part of their first team and has been likened to Arsenal star Martin Odegaard.

According to The Daily Mail, he is well-liked by United and is seen as a potential target for the summer as they overhaul the midfield.

Franco Mastantuono

Mastantouono has played 13 times for River Plate’s senior side and recently made headlines by becoming the joint second-youngest goalscorer in the history of Argentine football.

The 16-year-old shares the record with former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero but Diego Maradona, who scored for Argentinos Juniors when he was 16 years and five days old, remains in first place.

According to HITC, United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have spoken with intermediaries about Mastantuono in recent months.

The left-footed playmaker recently signed a new long-term contract with River Plate, but it includes a £38.6million release clause.

Tomas Parmo 

Parmo plays for the Under-20s at Club Atletico Independiente and has now been promoted to the first-team squad, who are managed by former United striker Carlos Tevez.

“The truth is that both I and the coaching staff are very happy with him because he is a totally different player,” Tevez said in January. “We have to take it slowly, let’s not forget that a week ago he turned 16 years old.

“It’s good that he learns, taking it little by little, but the truth is that we were surprised with what he has shown us in the preseason.”

According to TyC Sports, scouts from United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been to watch the winger in action.

Bence Dardai

HITC revealed that United and Liverpool have both sent scouts to watch Dardai play for Hertha Berlin in Germany’s second tier.

But the 18-year-old won’t be playing in the Premier League next season as he has now signed a pre-contract agreement with VfL Wolfsburg.


Evan Ferguson

A player with Premier League experience, Ferguson broke into the Brighton first team in 2022/23 and scored 10 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions.

While the Republic of Ireland international has struggled to replicate that form in 2023/24, he has all the attributes to become one of the best strikers in the league.

According to transfer journalist Ben Jacobs, United are looking to bring in competition for Rasmus Hojlund and see Ferguson as the perfect target.

Brighton are reportedly seeking £100million for the 19-year-old, who has also been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Roony Bardghji

After starring for Copenhagen in the Superliga, Bardghji burst onto the European scene when he smashed an 87th-minute winner against United in the Champions League in November 2023.

According to 90min, United have kept a close eye on his progress and have also held talks with intermediaries about a potential deal.

But the 18-year-old winger now looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury in training.

Vitor Roque

Roque scored 28 goals in 81 appearances for Athletico Paranaense before joining Barcelona in a deal worth an initial £25.6million and another £26.4million in potential bonuses.

The 19-year-old striker arrived at Camp Nou in the January transfer window, but he has struggled for game time in the second half of the 2023/24 season.

Reports in Spain claim that a number of clubs have now contacted his representatives over a potential loan move, including United.


Palmeiras has become a hotspot for European scouts as their academy has produced a lot of brilliant talents in recent years, including Real Madrid-bound Endrick.

According to ESPN, United recently sent scouts to Brazil to watch Thalys in action for Palmeiras’ Under-20s.

While the 19-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for the club, he has scored 12 goals in 32 appearances at Under-20 level and has been compared to Brazil legend Rivaldo.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus are also understood to be interested in the versatile forward, who reportedly has a £34million release clause in his contract.

Luis Guilherme

Unlike Thalys, Guilherme has already established himself as a key player in the Palmerias first team.

The 18-year-old looks destined for a switch to European football in the near future, and he has a £47million release clause in his contract.

According to journalist Andre Hernan, United have recently sent scouts to keep a close eye on the winger, along with Monaco and Borussia Dortmund.

Luis Guilherme, Palmeiras

Estevao Willian

Alongside Thalys and Guilherme, Estevavo has also been linked with a big-money move away from Palmeiras.

The winger – who has been dubbed ‘Messinho’ due to his playing style – managed to impress the United scouts at the recent Under-17 World Cup.

But TEAMtalk understands that Chelsea are the clear favourites in the race for his signature and an agreement is now close.

Gustavo Nunes

Nunes, who is also known as Gustavinho, came through the academy at Gremio and made the step up to the first team in February.

The 18-year-old winger has since registered one goal and three assists in 17 appearances in all competitions, and he has been linked with Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves.

The Daily Mail claim that a leading United scout was present in Porto Alegre to watch him during Gremio’s Copa Libertadores defeat to Huachipato.

Baylee Dipepa

Dipepa came through the academy at Port Vale and netted three goals in his debut season in League One, including a stunning solo strike against Bristol Rovers.

The striker has also been shining for England’s Under-17 side, scoring three goals in three appearances at international level.

Fabrizio Romano confirmed that the 17-year-old has been followed and tracked by the United scouting team, though negotiations over signing him have not started yet.

Francesco Camarda

A product of the AC Milan academy, Camarda has scored over 500 goals at youth level and is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Italy.

He wrote his name into the history books during Milan’s game against Fiorentina in November 2023, becoming the youngest player to feature in a Serie A match at the age of 15 years and 260 days.

The striker recently celebrated his 16th birthday but is yet to sign his first professional contract with the Rossoneri, which has alerted clubs across Europe.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, United, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping tabs on the situation.

Ian Subiabre

Alongside Franco Mastantouno, Subiare recently graduated to the River Plate first team and has so far made two senior appearances.

The 17-year-old has been compared to Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva due to his slight physique and excellent technique on the ball.

According to TyC Sports, scouts from United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been to watch the winger in action.

Vakhtang Salia

Salia has enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season at Dinamo Tbilisi, and he’s been watched by scouts from clubs across Europe.

The 16-year-old winger recently became the youngest goal-scorer in the Georgian National League, a record previously held by current Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

While Manchester City and Arsenal are leading the race for his signature, HITC revealed that United are also aware of his progress.

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