Five 2019 Golden Boy nominees Manchester United could sign

The nominees for the 2019 Golden Boy award are out, with the 40 best European-based footballers under 21 – as voted for by journalists – listed via AS.

The list is jam-packed with young talent and oddly there are no United players on the list. There may be a temptation for some fans to look enviously at some of the names.

So who among the nominees could United realistically hope to sign? We’ve taken a closer look at five young players on the shortlist who would improve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s options.

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Jadon Sancho

This one won’t shock many United fans. The former Manchester City starlet has kicked on over the past year and Solskjaer has already been linked with a swoop.


United badly need a right winger and Sancho loves playing in that role, providing goals and assists, with his recent displays for England further evidence that he takes every step up in his stride.

He would likely be very expensive but looks to be an incredible talent who should have a point to prove in English football. Let’s hope it can be for United.

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Florentino Luis

It’s obvious that United’s midfield is undermanned and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Paul Pogba doesn’t help at all.

Florentino already has four appearances this season at the heart of Benfica’s midfield, a club notorious for providing a steady stream of talent which has been picked off by bigger clubs down the years.

If former Benfica man Victor Lindelof is anything to go by, he might need a season to adjust if he came to Old Trafford, but the Red Devils’ midfield is in desperate need of youth, power and energy.

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Kai Havertz

Juan Mata has had to wait years for a run as Manchester United’s number ten and now that he’s got it, he looks way past his best.

James Maddison’s recent visit to Old Trafford with Leicester was viewed in some quarters as an audition for that role, and Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Havertz would also be a shrewd signing in that role.

German football has unearthed a new generation of starlets in the aftermath of their World Cup debacle and Havertz is the brightest star.

He has versatility, physicality and running power which would be perfect for Solskjaer’s United if he could be prised away from the Bundesliga.

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Erling Braut Haaland

Red Bull Salzburg hitman Haaland shot into the wider consciousness with a hat-trick on the opening night of the Champions League against Genk, but he has been on fire all season.

He has 17 goals across all competitions already and when a Norwegian striker is finding the net with that regularity at a time when United are going through a striking crisis, the links are going to come.

One potential issue is that he supports United’s bitter rivals Leeds, but could he be tempted to do an Alan Smith and shun the Whites in order to play at the top end of the Premier League? He has already worked with Solskjaer at Molde.

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Nicolo Zaniolo

The Roma midfielder offers guile from the back of midfield, which is something that United desperately lack.

It might be a big ask to get someone so young in to dictate play from deep but he has the quality to do that, in typical Italian style. Think Marco Verratti or Andrea Pirlo.

Even if Pogba doesn’t leave, United probably need two central midfielders anyway and Zaniolo is likely to be a wanted man in the coming transfer windows.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.