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Erik ten Hag has already outlined his plan for Manchester United’s exciting youth team



With the Manchester United senior team failing to inspire much hope within the fanbase, many have taken solace that the next generation in the academy look the real deal. Their run in the FA Youth Cup has been the bright spark in an otherwise disappointing season.

Amid this run, United fans are wondering if the youngsters have an immediate future in the first team. The club has a long-standing tradition of blooding youth and, depending on the top-four push, we could see Ralf Rangnick give some chances to these stars.

Alvaro Fernandez, Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo, Isak Hansen-Aaroen and Charlie McNeill have all been singled out for praise, and when you add them to the already existing crop of academy talent around the first team including Hannibal Mejbri and Bjorn Hardley it would seem a waste not to use them.

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United also have Teden Mengi, Ethan Laird, James Garner and Dylan Levitt to choose from who are currently on loan.

So will the new manager make the most of these options? MEN Sport understands that Erik ten Hag is United’s preferred choice and with his history with Ajax, who also take pride in their youth system, he seems like the perfect fit.

Ten Hag has also made clear his commitment to play youth in the past. He said in 2019: “I think we are doing a great job at Ajax. The level of our youth academy is top class. In the past two years, we sold great players like Justin Kluivert, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt and we earned a lot of money by doing so.

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“Besides that, we still have homegrown players like Blind, Mazraoui, Van de Beek, Siem de Jong, Sergino Dest, and Joel Veltman in our first squad. All of those players played in our youth academy for multiple years. But I think we have to be realistic and sometimes it’s hard to have new stars available on such a short term.

“I do agree that youngsters need to get a chance in the first team but they have to deserve that chance themselves.

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“They have to prove that they are better than the current players or at least have to potential to be better. Last year both Mazraoui and Dest took their chances and in the future new players will do the same.”

If these young players keep impressing they’ll eventually get their chance to show it in the first team and then they’ve got to grab that with both hands, as should always be the way. Hopefully, there will be many opportunities in the 2022/23 season to see what these youngsters can do.


Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report



As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

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Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m



Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m



Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

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With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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