Manchester United have stolen a march on both Liverpool and Arsenal by taking highly rated Watford youngster Ogo Obi on trial, reports The Daily Mail.
The 16-year-old caught the attention of scouts during last year's Milk Cup after scoring 10 goals in just five appearances. Both Arsenal and Liverpool have been tracking the young striker's progress ever since, but it is Manchester United who have been the first to give him a real chance to impress.
Obi will travel to United's Carrington training complex this week after being granted permission to attend to trial by his current club. The length of the trial is not stated in the report.
Obi will no doubt be excited to test himself against some of the top players in the game whist at Manchester United, but he will complete his trial whilst also considering a one-year contract offer from Watford.
The Hertfordshire club are desperate to keep the talented youngster on the scholarship scheme, but a similar offer from Van Gaal will surely be irresistible in comparison.
The news stands as further evidence that Manchester United have stepped up their efforts to secure some of the best young talent as well as established stars. Only Adnan Januzaj and Danny Welbeck have managed to break through to the first team over the last five years, leaving many concerned that the youth academy has become ineffective.
The likes of James Wilson and Michael Keane are threatening the emerge, but the consensus is that Manchester United not producing top stars in their droves as they became so famous for.
Competition for talent
With Financial Fair Play and homegrown rules taking a hold, the competition to secure top youth products is fiercer than ever. Liverpool famously beat off competition to secure Raheem Sterling from QPR, a battle that is set to reap huge rewards as the youngster continues to improve.
Arsenal also forked out a reported £1 million fee to secure Aston Villa wonderkid Dan Crowley. Just 15 at the time, the fee was staggering but after impressing in the under-21 Premier League, it is possible that he could emulate to achievements of Sterling in the near future.
Other trialists at Manchester United
Obi won't be the only one reporting for duty at Carrington this week after Manchester United also agreed a deal with Benfica to allow two more highly-rated starlets to take part in a trial.
Joao Filipe, who has contentiously be labelled the 'new Cristiano Ronaldo' will travel with goalkeeper and team-mate Joao Virginia at Manchester United. The pair have been linked to host of clubs in the past including Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.