Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign young Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Toby Collyer.

The Mail report Collyer had chosen not to sign professional terms with Brighton and explore his options, rejecting interest from Chelsea to sign with United.

Collyer had undergone a successful trial with United and has now agreed a three-and-a-half year contract.

Brighton And Hove Albion U23 v Tottenham Hotspur U23: Premier League 2
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

How does Collyer fit in at United

Toby Collyer is a defensive midfielder, a position United have a desire to upgrade in long-term. But it will be a couple of seasons at least before the new addition is ready to contribute.

The new addition will go into United’s under-23 side next season. Having turned 18 in January, he could be eased in with the under-18s before the end of this season, or make the jump straight to the 23s if the coaching staff feel he is ready.

United have a group of under-23 midfield players who are too good for academy football and will either have to be loaned again, or sold.

These include James Garner, Dylan Levitt and Ethan Galbraith – and a few names will be added to this trio next summer.

Zidane Iqbal will likely go out on loan, and Hannibal will step up or be loaned too. Slovakia youth international Martin Svidersky could leave.

Collyer will be in a mix with Isak Hansen-Aaroen and Kobbie Mainoo, who will hope to be regulars for United’s under-23s in midfield next season, along with Charlie Savage, if he is not sent out on loan.

Previously Collyer has captained England at under-16 and under-17 level, and while he has not seen much action this campaign, possibly due to his contract, he is a very bright prospect who United clearly feel can be of help.

It will soon be seen whether Collyer is just a placeholder who has been signed to hold the fort and help the team compete at under-23 level while more advanced prospects go out on loan, or whether he can develop into a player one day capable of competing for the first team. Hopefully it is the latter.

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