Five academy wonderkids who can save Manchester United millions in transfer fees

James Robson
Getty Images

Manchester United had big plans for the next transfer window, though the coronavirus shutdown has thrown the season into flux.

With huge numbers of clubs now facing an uncertain financial future, the transfer market will feel the repercussions of Covid-19 for potentially years to come.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting young, hungry players in the market, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Jude Bellingham and James Maddison high on his wishlist - but there have also been chances for United's academy talents to prove themselves this season.

While United are more insulated from the economic impacts of coronavirus due to their strong financial situation, the likes of Harry Kane - valued at over £150million by a Tottenham side reluctant to sell - may well be out of reach even for the Red Devils.

United have borrowed £140m to boost cash funds ahead of this summer, but that total may not just be for transfers given the uncertainties of Covid-19.

With that in mind, here are five academy prospects and graduates who could save United millions...

Mason Greenwood

The teenaged striker has announced himself in spectacular fashion this season with 13 goals – and he is only expected to get better.

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

But that hasn’t stopped Solskjaer targeting moves for Jadon Sancho and a centre forward to boost United’s attacking options.

The Norwegian is still determined to ensure Greenwood’s path isn’t blocked, and there is faith in him to rise to the challenge of increased competition.

But should United have to scale back their spending, the 18-year-old has already proved his ability in the top flight.

Axel Tuanzebe

Photo: Getty Images

It’s a measure of the hopes for Tuanzebe that he was placed ahead of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo in United’s defensive pecking order at the start of the season.

He’s endured an injury-disrupted campaign, but is expected to provide solid back-up to Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly next term.

Ethan Laird

Photo: REUTERS

After Brandon Williams’ emergence this season, Laird could well be the next cab off the rank.

The rapid right-back has impressed in two first-team appearances this term and with speculation over the future of Diogo Dalot, he could find himself used as cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

James Garner

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Well thought of by United’s coaches, but possibly needs to fill out more before he can hold down a regular place in midfield.

A composed presence in the middle of the pitch, with a good range of passing, Fred recently identified Garner as the pick of United’s academy.

“All are very good, they are not in this profession for nothing, but the player who impresses me most is Jimmy Garner,” he told Trivela. “‘Not just because he is in the same position as me, but because he is a player who has an impressive vision of the game, and he has a huge future for United.

“In addition to his impressive game vision, he always plays with his head up, has an impressive shot and is an incredible passer. He is a player that I admire a lot.

Hannibal Mejbri

Photo: Getty Images

In truth, next season will probably come too soon for Mejbri, but the midfielder is tipped to go to the very top.

That’s why United paid around £9m to sign him from Monaco last summer, and why he’s the player sparking most excitement among fans.

His distinctive curls aren’t the only thing that makes him stand out – rather his outstanding technique and vision.

Barcelona and Liverpool were among his suitors when United won the race for his signature, and back in France he is considered one of their brightest talents.