Man Utd’s squad could see some changes in the coming transfer windows but rather than invest millions in new players Ralf Rangnick could turn to the latest academy products
Ralf Rangnick could turn to youth rather than investing millions in the January transfer market as he weighs up his squad options.
The German has only had several weeks at the helm having taken over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United spent heavily in the summer but remain someway off the pace and could still miss out on the top four.
Midseason recruits are being considered to solve problems areas, with central midfield among them.
Rangnick has a history of shrewd transfer activity, but equally has trusted in youth products and is ready to so again provided the players are the right fit.
He said: “It’s not only about youth, it’s about being talented and having the right personality and mentality and if those things come together then of course I want to play as many of those young players as possible.
“We had three, four or five of them in our squad already and for me it’s important to develop those players.”
A host of youngsters were given opportunities under the previous regime and we take a look at five who could prosper in the coming months.
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One of the more prominent academy stars of the past 12 months.
Elanga started and scored in the final day win over Wolves last season, underlining his appetite for goals.
In December the 19-year-old Swede signed a new long-term contract at the club and may benefit from Rangnick’s history of backing youth.
Football director John Murtough said: “Anthony is a young player that we all really believe in.
“He has consistently impressed throughout the Academy age groups and risen to every challenge that he has faced.”
The only hurdle for Elanga will be the host of attacking players ahead of him in the pecking order.
The young midfielder has plenty of admirers in and around the corridors at Carrington.
He came off the bench in the club’s last Champions League outing and is capable of playing as a box-to-box midfielder or as a 10.
With the likes of Paul Pogba potentially departing in the coming months, entrusting Iqbal may prove a long-term solution.
Stewart Hamer, who first began coaching the players when he was in U5s, shed light on how impressive he was as a kid.
“When we played a few six-a-side competitions [as he got older] he would do very well. He would stand out,” Hamer told Sky Sports News.
“We got to the point where sometimes we would have to take him off the field in fairness to the opposition because he was just too dangerous on the field and it didn’t feel fair on the others.”
Already capped by the Tunisian national side, Mejbri could eventually force his way into the United defensive picture.
The Red Devils still look anything but solid at the back and may seek to mix things up.
Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane have not yet hit up a partnership which keeps the door open for Mejbri.
Signed from Monaco in 2019, the now 18-year-old has made a senior appearance for United and remains highly-rated having been a regular in the club’s U23 set-up.
Rangnick said recently: “I’m fully aware that we have another good, highly-talented player coming from our youth ranks” whilst adding that he is likely to train with the first team.
Another of those to be called into the club’s Champions League squad, Wellens is attracting interest from none of than Jose Mourinho.
The Special One bought the youngster into the fold when he was in charge at Old Trafford.
Wellens, son of former Salford City manager Richie, has continued to play in the U23, coming up with goals and assists.
The teenager midfielder’s distribution has been highlighted as a strength and United continue to have problems in the middle of the park amid links with January arrivals.
Another young defender who may benefit from United’s shaky backline.
He went out on loan to Derby County last term to further himself, before returning early due to injury.
Mengi has found himself in and around the first team squad for cup matches in the past which will have helped him pick up experience.
He, like Elanga, may find his only issue is the amount of defenders currently on the clubs books.
Axel Tuanzebe has headed out on loan whilst Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are also options.