Manchester United’s next big academy prospect Angel Gomes picked up the club’s Youth Team Player of the Year award on Thursday night and has immediately been thrust into the first team.
The 16-year-old followed in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and last year’s recipient Marcus Rashford, in winning the award named after Sir Matt Busby’s assistant manager Jimmy Murphy.
The attacking midfielder is the youngest ever recipient of the award on a night where Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera were also honoured.
Manchester United summer transfer targets
Manchester United summer transfer targets
1/10 Gareth Bale - Real Madrid
The Real Madrid forward would be a marquee signing, the type that the Manchester United boardroom are keen to make, and The Independent has been told by sources from both United and Madrid that a deal is 'much likelier' than ever before. The player himself though is happy in the Spanish capital. Likelihood: 5/10
2/10 Alvaro Morata - Real Madrid
The Real Madrid forward fits the mould of the out and out No.9 Mourinho is looking for. Strong, quick and good in the air Morata figures to fit well in United's system in Ibrahimovic's place. A £60million deal could be done soon. Likelihood: 9/10
3/10 Andrea Belotti - Torino
Another of Europe’s most promising players, Belotti is fast becoming well-known after his outstanding performances at Torino, where he has scored 37 goals in 64 appearances since 2015. His best years are still ahead of him aged just 23, which contributes to the incredible €100m release clause, applicable only to clubs outside of Italy, negotiated into his contract. Torino are in no hurry to sell and will drive a hard bargain with any deal likely to start at upwards of £70m. Likelihood: 7/10
4/10 Victor Lindelof - Benfica
United have been monitoring Lindelof for over a year with a deal now closer than ever. The young Swede nearly made the switch from Benfica back in January but United are confident the move will finally be completed soon. Likelihood: 9/10
5/10 Ivan Perisic, Inter Milan
United want to spend £35m on Perisic but Inter are holding out for closer to £50m. That said, Mourinho is a big fan and may be willing to go the extra mile to get him. Likelihood: 7/10
6/10 Willian - Chelsea
Mourinho is a huge admirer of Willian, who he signed in 2013 while at Chelsea. The pair won a Premier League title and League Cup double together the following year and it is believed that the United manager will do his best to sign the player, who has not been a regular starter in Antonio Conte’s system. Whether Chelsea will allow him to leave, particularly to join Mourinho at their rivals is yet to be seen. Likelihood: 4/10
7/10 Fabinho - Monaco
An extremely versatile player Mourinho sees him more as a defensive midfielder and could be used to give Paul Pogba, last summer's big addition, more freedom. Monaco aren't in any rush to lose any more first team stars this summer though and are likely to demand a hefty fee. Likelihood: 7/10
8/10 Michael Keane - Burnley
Once seen as the ideal signing due to his Premier League experience and the presence of a buy-back clause which effectively gives United a 25% discount, interest in Keane has cooled with Lindelof now the preferred central defensive option. Likelihood: 5/10
9/10 James Rodriguez - Real Madrid
Rodriguez signed for Real Madrid in 2014 after taking over the World Cup in Brazil the same summer, where he won the goal of the tournament and golden boot awards. Despite his undoubted talent, he has failed to hold down a regular spot under Zinedine Zidane this season and Madrid will sanction a sale this summer. Likelihood: 3/10
10/10 Marquinhos - PSG
Mourinho is in the market for defensive additions with Jones, Smalling, Blind and Rojo all largely failing to convince. But, understandably, PSG are extremely reluctant to let Marquinhos leave and would demand in excess of £50m. Likelihood: 4/10
United are in the midst of an injury crisis ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax and Jose Mourinho is unwilling to risk many of his stars in a nothing game against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday.
As a result Gomes could be in line for a shock debut, after being called up to train with the first-team squad on Friday morning.
But who is Angel Gomes?
From a footballing family
Gomes comes from a family with quite the footballing background with his father, Gil, being a former Portuguese under-20 World Cup winner and his brother, Rico, in United’s academy up until he was 16.
He is also the cousin of former Manchester United star, Nani.
Career so far
Gomes has been at United since he was seven years old and has always played above his age group, representing the under-18s when he was only 14 and became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for the club at Academy level in 15 years.
Despite being born in Portugal, Gomes has represented England at under-15 and under-16 level, captaining the latter in 2016.
He was forced to pull out of England’s under-17 squad for the European Championships this year due to injury.
He is also eligible for Angola.
What has he said
On winning the Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year award: “It's a dream come true. Being a young age, it's things like this you wish for. All the hard work you put in at the training ground - this is the end result.”
What they have said
Nani: “Congratulations, my kid, you're on the right track!”
Academy coach Nicky Butt: “It's ridiculous. I look at the kids and they're miles better than I was at their age - technically. Angel Gomes is someone we've got massive hopes for.”Reuse content