One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest qualities and one of the main reasons why he lasted so long at Manchester United was his ability - and, of course, his desire - to continuously plan for the future.
Most managers seem to only focus on the present - and you can understand that given the incessant demand for instant results - but Ferguson, as we all know, wasn’t like most managers.
While his United side were busy dominating English football in 2007, the legendary Scot made a signing for the future which made headlines across the world.
John Cofie, a 14-year-old striker at Burnley, was being touted as the next big thing at the time.
The German-born Ghanaian was on the radar of the Premier League’s top clubs, including Liverpool, who had a £250,000 bid rejected by Burnley at the start of November 2007.
United splashed out £1m on the teenager
A week later and United had done a deal with Burnley, who first spotted the forward at a youth tournament in Germany, for the highly-rated teenager.
The Red Devils had paid out a cool £1 million for the teenager - despite the fact he was just 14 years old.
What happened to Cofie?
But whatever happened to the starlet?
Well, if you haven’t a clue then don’t worry: you’re not alone.
He’s no longer at Old Trafford, you’ll be shocked to hear. He left United in 2013 after failing to make a single first-team appearance for the Premier League giants.
He had loan spells at Royal Antwerp, Sheffield United and Notts County before United decided to offload him to Barnsley on a permanent deal.
Cofie has since has spells with Molde, Crawley Town, Wrexham, AFC Telford, Southport, Bradford Park Avenue and Chorley.
He's been in the news again today
And he’s made headlines today after being unveiled by League of Ireland outfit Derry City.
It’s fair to say Ferguson and his scouts misjudged this one spectacularly.
"Manchester United bought him, then he went to Royal Antwerp, Barnsley and Southport," Derry team manager Kenny Shiels was quoted as saying by BBC Sport on Tuesday.
"This is a good opportunity for him to resurrect his career."
A lesson to talented youngsters everywhere
Cofie is still just 24 years old - he turns 25 in January - and will hopefully make the most of this latest opportunity.
The former England Under-17 international is proof that moving to a big club too soon can, if you’re unfortunate, virtually destroy your development and mess up the rest of your career.
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