Few clubs on the planet have the allure of Manchester United. Even before Sir Alex Ferguson’s years 20+ in charge at Old Trafford, United were known as a team that wanted to provide its academy players and youngsters with opportunities to perform, and that’s something that endures to this day. During the three years since Ferguson’s retirement, United have provided debuts to the likes of Guillermo Varela, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Adnan Januzaj, Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Even when graduates have failed to make a lasting impression, as is the case with Donald Love and Paddy McNair, both of whom made their debuts under Louis van Gaal but are now playing for Sunderland, the club’s youngsters often go on to enjoy first team football at top clubs all around the country.
It would appear that United have their eyes on some more promising prospects, too, if reports are anything to go by. The Manchester Evening News are reporting that the club are interested in Jesper Karlsson, a Swedish striker playing for Falkenbergs. The 18-year old has scored 8 goals in 27 appearances this season and is drawing interested from several big clubs around the continent. Karlsson himself is remaining level-headed about the reported interest:
“Of course it’s fun,” he told Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, “but I cannot do anything more than just go out, do my best and perform. If they check and they think I’m good, that’s just a plus.”
If United’s interest is concrete (and there’s no reason to suggest that it isn’t), then Karlsson would certainly have his work cut out to force his way into United’s options up front. His compatriot and Swedish icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic is currently the club’s main striker, with the Manchester Evening News suggesting that Ibrahimovic’s presence may work in United’s favour.
United are also reportedly interested in Brazilian Matheus Marcosi, who can play in midfield or defence. The club have a partnership with Desportivo Brasil, and the 16-year old will be at the club’s Carrington training ground this week for a second visit. If his trial is successful, Marcosi will be looking to earn a contract with the club.
Marcosi’s presence is an interesting one, not least because several of his fellow countrymen have mixed experiences when it comes to their time at Old Trafford. Rafael da Silva can look back on his time at the club with pride and left for Lyon last summer as a well-liked member of the team, whereas Anderson will likely be remembered as wasted potential. Yet if Marcosi can impress, who knows? Perhaps we’ll be seeing the young Brazilian and the 18-year old Swede in the not-too distant future.