Manchester United spent almost £150 million during this summer’s transfer window, while they also broke the record fee for Paul Pogba.
However, Jose Mourinho is well aware that spending a ridiculous amount of money every window may not necessarily be the best way forward as the club look to return to the summit of English football.
Pogba, Eric Bailly and Henrik Mkhitaryan haven’t exactly set the Premier League alight since their big money moves this summer, and Mourinho will realise that they may not be able to compete with the big European clubs in future windows if his side fail to perform on the pitch.
Therefore it seems that, rather than breaking the world transfer fee in transfer windows to come, Mourinho is looking to pick up future stars on the cheap.
According to The Sun, the Special One has ordered his scouts to keep a close eye on seven wonderkids in the hope that he can convince them to join the Old Trafford club.
In fact, Mourinho is so keen on unearthing a hidden gem that he has moved to bring some of Europe’s most respected scouts to the Theatre of Dreams in recent months.
The Portuguese boss has recruited Atletico Madrid’s Gerardo Guzman - the man responsible for finding Antoine Griezmann, Koke and Radamel Falco during his time at the Vicente Calderon. He’s also captured Sandro Orlandelli from Arsenal, while he’s attempting to steal David Harrison from rivals Manchester City.
So, here are the seven hot prospects that United have been keeping tabs on during this campaign.
Leon Bailly | Genk | 19-years-old
The winger is already making an impact in Europe having scored against Sassuolo in the Europe League. United’s chief scout Jim Lawlor has been to watch him closely this season.
Alex Grimaldi | Benfica | 21-years-old
Left-back Grimaldo failed to make an appearance for Barcelona after spending five seasons representing Barcelona B. He’s now plying his trade in Portugal with United scouts watching him during Benfica’s 4-0 victory over Fereinse on Sunday. However, it’s unlikely they'd be willing to trigger the £51 million release clause.
Tiemoue Bakayoko | Monaco | 22-year-old
The tough-tackling defensive midfielder has been a regular for Monaco since joining them in 2014 and could be the ideal partner for Paul Pogba in the long-term.
Bakayoko’s agent has also admitted that the Red Devils are interested in his client.
Matheus Marcosi | Desportivo Brasil | 16-years-old
Marcosi is having another trial at Old Trafford having already impressed the club’s scouts. He can play in both defence and midfield and currently represents Desportivo Brasil - who have an affiliation with United.
Ezri Konsa | Charlton Athletic | 18-years-old
Konsa is a wanted man, having impressed for the Addicks this season. However, United will face competition from almost every Premier League club if they want to sign the centre-back.
Gelson Martins | Sporting Lison | 21-years-old
United signing a young, exciting winger from Sporting Lison? Yep, we’ve heard that one before. But it could happen again with Martins impressing United scouts with two goals and five assists for the Portuguese club this season.
Bernard Mensah | Atletico Madrid | 21-years-old
Not to be confused with the player with the same name playing for Aldershot in the National League. Mensah is currently on-loan at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, from Atletico and the attacking midfielder has been personally recommended to Mourinho by his agent Jorge Mendes.