Dazzling Angel Gomes shaping up to become the new Paul Pogba

by Red Billy

A Manchester United academy product who was incredibly gifted, but who perhaps thought he was a little bit better than he was.

A starlet who demanded a healthy increase in the terms of his contract, who asked for reassurances about first team opportunities and who hired the services of a powerful superagent to represent him.

With doubts about being held to ransom and about the player having ideas above his station, United decide to let him go.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It is, of course the story of Paul Pogba’s first period at Old Trafford, when at the age of 19 he was sold to Juventus for just €1 million in 2012, only to be bought back for €105 million just four years later.

‘It’s a bit disappointing because I don’t think he showed us any respect at all. To be honest, if they carry on that way, I’m quite happy that he’s away, from me, anyway,’ Sir Alex Ferguson said at the time about Pogba and his agent, Mino Raiola.

But history could be in the process of repeating itself.

The self-same story is, so far, true of former United academy star Angel Gomes, whose own superagent is Pini Zahavi.

United didn’t even receive a million for Gomes, his contract simply expired and he left for LOSC Lille in France, who immediately sent him out on loan to Boavista, derby rivals of FC Porto.

And there he is shining. Brightly.

Gomes has scored three goals and provided four assists in just five games in the Liga Nos this season. In fact, he has had an involvement in all but one of the goals his side has scored.

In his debut for the club he provided three assists playing in the unfamiliar role of false nine in the kind of physical game that United’s coaches had reportedly doubted he could handle due to his diminutive physique.

There then came a 5-0 drubbing in the Porto derby but even in that match, Gomes caught the eye and was easily the best Boavista player on the pitch.

More recently, he stole the show completely. Playing on the left wing he produced a goal, assist and man-of-the-match performance as his side shocked Benfica 3-0 at the Bessa Stadium.

Gomes is oozing confidence, he works hard, his creative flicks and backheels are adding potent weapons to his side’s arsenal and at 1metre 68 cm he looks as robust, slippery and mobile as the great Lionel Messi, who stands just two centimetres taller.

The Portuguese league is not the Premier League or even Serie A, but it is not a walk in the park, either. Much more physical than Spain’s La Liga, more technical than the Premier League and faster than Serie A, it is no surprise that it is the breeding ground for one of the largest percentages of the world’s best players of any league in the world.

It is early days, of course, and there is a long way to go before United are forking out nine figure sums to bring this academy product back to Old Trafford. But if Gomes can continue to build on his impressive start, he will be without doubt one of Europe’s hottest properties by the end of the season.

The Red Devils might well end up kicking themselves for not learning their lesson and for letting another immense talent walk out of the club just after all the hard work had been done – and just when they could have been about to reap the rewards.

United have had some world class goalkeepers over the years and some entertaining ones too. Take our quiz below to find out how much you know about United’s number 1’s, past and present.

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