Manchester United's academy striker charge suggests exciting future

Manchester United may have only signed one first-team player so far this summer, but they have been busy in other areas.

As reported by Marca, 16-year-old Alejandro Garnacho has agreed a move to Old Trafford. And the teenager is just one of many young strikers who will be hoping to make a mark next season.

While the majority of United’s business has been in strengthening their U18s, the derth of forwards at U23 level means at least one is likely to be promoted sooner rather than later.

From there, the sky really could be the limit.

Garnacho joins fellow summer recruit Joe Hugill at United. And the Red Devils are not stopping there.


According to the Manchester Evening News, United are set to raid Manchester City for Charlie McNeill – a 17-year-old forward with goal-scoring in his DNA.

After some blistering performances at youth level, McNeill looks every inch a star-in-the-making, with United reportedly agreeing a fee that could rise to £1.35million.

That is before you factor in Dillon Hoogewerf and Mateo Mejia; two young forwards already at Old Trafford and hoping to continue their progress next season.

That is a lot of strikers, and a sign that United are not standing still despite the presence of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

A whole host of exciting options

Between them, United’s next generation of forwards have everything covered. There is the prolific, the dominant, the pacy and practically everything in between.

Hugill is a mountain of a player, McNeill scores for fun, and huge things are expected of Mejia now he is fully fit.

At least one of the strikers will step up to U23 level, if not more, and it will be interesting to see which is the first to break into United’s first-team.

In the past, United have had one big thing pushing for a breakthrough. Most recently there was Greenwood and, before that, Rashford.

But now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a whole host of options to monitor the progress of.

It is no coincidence that a manager known for his ability in front of goal is filling his club with talented young forwards of the future. And it is no surprise that they want to learn from him.

Charlie McNeill: What you need to know

  1. United to City and back again

    McNeill began his career in United’s academy before leaving for City six years ago. He has since returned ‘home’.

  2. Competition for his signature

    City wanted to keep McNeill, while Rangers, Leeds, Wolves and RB Leipzig were all linked with signing him after he rejected a contract extension at The Etihad.

  3. Youth international

    McNeill has represented England at under-16 level, scoring in a win over Moldova.

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Vincent is the Senior Managing Editor of Freshered. He was previously Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in Kent, where he worked with hundreds of 16 to 19-year-olds over eight years.