Football

Manchester United: Top 5 teen targets

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Eriksen has a big future - could it be with United? (©GettyImages)
Eriksen has a big future - could it be with United? (©GettyImages).

With only 10 full days left until the transfer window re-opens in January, speculation is rife as to which club will make which move in 2012 - none more so than at Manchester United.

A mid-season injury crisis has made the possibilities even more interesting than usual, with Sir Alex Ferguson playing down fears that the club will 'panic buy' whilst also leaving the door open for long-term targets to move to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils made significant moves in the summer, spending big to bring young players to the club in an effort to build for the future, and it's a policy the Scot could look to use again if he does decide to spend in the New Year.

GiveMeFootball highlights five teenage targets reported to be on the Old Trafford radar, and rates the chances of a move to the English champions.
 

1. Christian Eriksen (Ajax and Denmark)

The 19-year-old midfielder was confirmed on the club's radar yesterday by first team coach Rene Meulensteen, and United have been linked with a move for over a year now after the youngster impressed at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“This is a player that is on our radar. It is true that a player like Eriksen would fit our transfer policy. He is being strongly linked with us, but to suggest that we are about to make a move is not true.”

Also linked with Barcelona, the playmaker is of a similar ilk to Paul Scholes, with an eye for goal as well as a key pass. His future is undoubtedly bright.

Transfer Chance: The player has the ability to be a world class addition anywhere - including Barcelona - and with United short in the position he clearly fits the bill. Ineligibility in European football is a negative. 4 out of 5.

2. Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund and Germany)

Regarded as the future of German football, Gotze has been earning rave reviews in both the Bundesliga and at international level.

With several characteristics similar to Eriksen, the positives for this 19-year-old is that he's been tested in a higher standard of league compared to the Eredivisie, although a mooted £50 million price tag would threaten to be a huge stumbling block.

Dortmund are also unwilling to sell, but that hasn't stopped the rumours growing over the past four months, and a mega-money offer would be hard for the champions to reject.

Transfer Chance: Gotze would be another quality addition, but the price makes him close to unattainable for almost anyone. Depends on the player's desire to stay or go - currently happy at Westfalenstadion. 2 out of 5.

3. Javier Gonzalez (Laredo)

A relative unknown in comparison to the aforementioned big-name targets, 15-year-old striker Gonzalez emerged as a surprise United target at the end of November in a string of English national newspapers.

After scoring 20 goals in just seven games for the Spanish fourth division side's youth team, Gonzalez has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have reportedly offered the youngster trials in the Spanish and English capitals respectively, but Ferguson was claimed to be monitoring the situation closely at the time.

Transfer Chance: Whilst the signing wouldn't make as bigger waves as the aforementioned two, Gonzalez's future at Laredo is almost certainly going to be short-lived, although whether he's willing to leave Spain is another factor to take into account. 2 out of 5.

4. Mateo Kovacic (Dinamo Zagreb)

The great hope of Croatian football, attacking midfielder Kovacic has been dubbed 'the next Luka Modric' and has already been capped at every youth level for his country.

Manchester City and Arsenal are also said to be interested in the 17-year-old, but a source told Goal.com earlier this month that the player would favour a switch to Old Trafford.

Valued in the region of £10 million, Kovacic represents a cheaper option in comparison to Eriksen and Gotze, but has a few years in reserve compared to the high-profile pair and has also impressed in his Champions League outings this term.

Transfer chance: Expect a big future for the player away from Zagreb, and with United claimed to be the 'preferred' destination, the ball appears to be in Ferguson's court. 3 out of 5.

5. Lucas Rodrigues Moura (Sao Paulo and Brazil)

A ten-cap Brazilian international at the age of 19, it takes little to realise that Lucas is an attacking midfielder with a very bright future.

The path from South American football to Europe is one that's been followed many times before, although the Red Devils have endured mixed fortunes bringing samba stars to the club - Rafael and Fabio da Silva two positive exceptions.

A reported £67 million buy-out clause is more of a warning than a necessity to land the player, although reported £20m interest is likely to be short of the Tricolor Paulista's valuation.

Transfer chance: After recently penning a new deal in his homeland, a move in January appears unlikely. 2 out of 5.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
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