Manchester United have always been known for their youth policy and their academy has always included the most talented players from across England and the world.
Academy recruitment definitely slowed down post Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement but things have picked up in recent years and the club is showing signs of progress.
The Brazilian Messi
Their search has taken them to Brazil where teen sensation Estevao Willian is shining bright and has almost single-handedly carried the country’s U-17 team to the U-17 World Cup quarterfinals.
In four games, he has three goals and as many assists and his displays have sparked a war between Europe’s elite clubs with United also among the list.
Popularly known as ‘Messinho’, the 16-year-old has already represented Palmeiras’ U20 squad and has two goals and one assist from five starts across all competitions.
Primarily a right-winger, he can also play on the left wing, and considering United’s struggles on the right, Messinho could just be the long-term solution should United win the race.
He has a release clause of €60 million but it will be far from easy with the player himself said to be a fan of Barcelona while the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are willing to splash the cash for the highly-rated Brazilian.
“Messinho, dreams of playing for Barça,” as reported by Mundo Deportivo. “The latest to join the list of suitors for the great pearl of Brazil has been Real Madrid.
Huge demand for Messinho’s services already
“The white club contacted Palmeiras yesterday with insistence, to find out the player’s situation. In addition, a representation company close to Real Madrid who helped with the Vinicius deal also offered to act as an intermediary with the player.
“Estevao signed his first professional contract with Palmeiras last April when he turned 16, and a termination clause of 60 million euros was set in it.
“PSG already offered the Brazilian club a first offer of 40 million and recently it rose to 50 million. But in addition to PSG, Barça, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea are also after the great pearl of Brazil.”
It will be difficult to complete such a deal with most young South Americans preferring Spanish clubs due to the language barrier and cultural factors but the Red Devils should not give up so easily.