Jose Mourinho may have spent the majority of the season languishing in sixth place but the Manchester United manager will be applauded by the Old Trafford faithful for having returned a sense of style back to the club following a desperate three seasons since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Along with winning the EFL Cup and still in the race for more honours this season, Mourinho has turned a corner in the transition period at the club and attention now moves to who the 54-year-old will sign this summer as he continues to search for the missing pieces in the Manchester United jigsaw.
While the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Toni Kroos have been heavily linked with a move to the club, we take a look at some of the younger hottest prospects in the game who are attracting worldwide attention and could provide much needed creativity to Mourinho’s side.
1. Kasper Dolberg
The 19-year-old Ajax sensation has already reportedly attracted the attention of a host of European clubs including Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.
The Ajax youth academy is world renowned for producing top quality youngsters, with Premier League stars Daley Blind and Christian Eriksen having come through their system.
Following in the footsteps of Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert and Zlatan Ibrahimovic the young forward is earning rave reviews in the Netherlands and is odds on to make a mega money move this summer.
The youngster hit an 18-minute hat-trick against NEC Nijmegen last year only days after his international debut for Denmark against Kazakhstan.
Dolberg is blessed with speed and is also known for his ability in the air and has been hailed as the ‘new’ Ibrahimovic by the same scout who discovered them both.
Ajax, although they would be reluctant to sell, would receive a huge profit on the £230,000 they paid Danish side Silkeborg in 2015. The Dutch club are known for cashing in on their talented stars and have an unbelievable record of unearthing top quality youngsters.
With Europe’s biggest clubs circling, he will not remain an Ajax player for much longer if his impressive form continues.
2. Paulo Dybala
The Juventus striker joined the Serie A champions from Palermo in 2015 for €32 million plus add-ons and has reportedly attracted the interest of Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Real Madrid is believed to be the striker’s next destination should he leave Turin, however with Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearing his 36th birthday, Manchester United will be on the look out for a new striker with all the qualities of Dybala sure to not have gone unnoticed by the Old Trafford boss.
The youngster has been hailed as the next Lionel Messi and can equally operate as a number ten behind Gonzalo Higuain, as he has done many times this season for Juventus.
He is also something of a free-kick specialist and scoring a sensational one against his former club, Palermo, last month – a goal former Juventus star, Andrea Pirlo would have been proud of.
3. Bernardo Silva
The Monaco starlet has attracted the attention of a host of European clubs and reports suggest Manchester United have an agreement in place to sign the Portuguese player this summer.
Whether this is just a fabrication or not, the 22-year-old will have caught the eye of fellow countryman, Jose Mourinho with his dazzling displays in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this campaign.
The player produced a star performance in one of the Champions League’s greatest ever games as Monaco lost 5-3 to Manchester City last month.
Mourinho has watched his side struggle for goals this season, with poor results in crucial games, especially at Old Trafford, seeing them remain in sixth position in the Premier League table despite not losing in the league since October.
Silva could be a key man in opening up the play and be a crucial player in Manchester United creative play due to his ability to thrive in a host of attacking positions.
Silva joined Monaco from Benfica for a fee of around £13.4 million in January 2015, with reports suggesting Monaco would want at least €70 million for their prized asset if he were to leave this summer.
4. Christian Pulisic
The 18-year-old has made the breakthrough at Borussia Dortmund and received high praise this week when former Real Madrid legend Raul singled him out as one to watch.
The American attacking midfielder provided a goal and an assist as Dortmund overcame a one-goal deficit against Benfica to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals this week.
His rapid rise at the German club has seen him keep former Chelsea man Andre Schurrle out of the starting eleven as he continues to impress for Thomas Tuchel’s men, and with Marco Reus injured yet again Pulisic will be sure to be a fixture in the side in the coming weeks and months.
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool continue to be linked with the player who will also have caught the eye of many top sides.
The youngster is seen as the best prospect in American football and became the youngest American player to score a goal in World Cup Qualifying at 17 years, 349 days.
5. Ante Coric
Probably the least known on the list, Coric is a hot prospect in Croatia and currently plays for Dinamo Zagreb.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is often compared to Real Madrid’s Luka Modric for his passing and technique and has already represented the Croatian senior national team.
At his young age he has room to improve his defensive qualities but is lauded for his ability to use both feet, which is surprisingly rare in football, and is extremely versatile, playing in a number of key positions.
It is admirable the player wants to keep his options open and will not jump at the first opportunity that comes his way, showing he is mature for his age.
However, he will once again be chased by some of the top clubs in Europe this summer.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena
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