18-22 years old: wrong transfer strategy?

sammsky1

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I was reading many envious posts about Dortmund being able to field Sancho, Haaland and Bellingham in the same team, all players we’ve tried to get into United.

But isn’t it now fact that elite young professional talent will always seek smaller or less elite clubs to gain regular game time and develop under less scrutiny? Sancho is the poster boy for such a career strategy.

Mourinho is often derided for not finding space for teenage De Bruyne, Lukaku, Salah and more, but the reality is he could never have won the PL with inconsistent youth protégés. Foden struggles to get game time at City. This can also be true for homegrown youth players as Manchester United experienced with Pogba, Chong and Gomez leaving the club to get game time. Manchester United have also never threatened to win the league while having the likes of teenage Rashford and Martial develop their potential.

Given Manchester United have aspirations of being a PL winning team, is chasing this demographic a waste of time? If I were Haaland or Bellingham I wouldn’t join Manchester United at this stage of my career. And if you do get them to join, they normally lower the standard of a top team because they’ve yet to reach potential.
 
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Bilbo

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United don't deserve to be grouped in with clubs that don't give young players a chance. Quite the opposite in fact. If we sign Sancho, or had signed Haaland, both of those players would be on the pitch more often than not
 

SinNombre

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Bvb are a selling club.

Young players go there knowing Bvb will allow them to move on later.

This is also why I think the Sancho move will happen. It is not great for their brand if they develop a reputation of making it hard for young players to move on later.


Our strategy is slightly different and this is the one we have had success with. We either poach elite players at 15-16 (Rossi, Pique, Pogba in the past and we have started again on it recently with Hannibal). Or we buy 18-19 year olds for record fees (for their positions and age) with Rooney, Ronaldo, DDG, Martial, Shaw.

You can be certain we will be in for Camavinga when he is up for sale next summer. So will PSG and RM so Pogba is our only selling point unless we improve a lot over the next 10 months.
 

sammsky1

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United don't deserve to be grouped in with clubs that don't give young players a chance. Quite the opposite in fact. If we sign Sancho, or had signed Haaland, both of those players would be on the pitch more often than not
We certainly give our own homegrown youth a chance. I’m talking more about 18-22 year olds from other clubs. Despite some very serious courting, both Haaland and Bellingham avoided us.
 

Untd55

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Borussia Dortmund is arguably the best team for any youth prospect to move to, so I am not surprised they keep on winning the race to sign young players.

They know they will get game time. They know that Dortmund will sell them when they want to leave. You have fewer expectations; competition for places is probably less fierce; they are, almost, guaranteed to play in the Champion's League. It is the perfect place to move to.
 

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Bellingham and Haaland are more of an exception to the rule. Generally speaking when an elite club is in for a young player, they'll go there. Dortmund are hardly minnows either so they dont really break that rule anyway.
 

M16Red

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Bvb are a selling club.

Young players go there knowing Bvb will allow them to move on later.

This is also why I think the Sancho move will happen. It is not great for their brand if they develop a reputation of making it hard for young players to move on later.


Our strategy is slightly different and this is the one we have had success with. We either poach elite players at 15-16 (Rossi, Pique, Pogba in the past and we have started again on it recently with Hannibal). Or we buy 18-19 year olds for record fees (for their positions and age) with Rooney, Ronaldo, DDG, Martial, Shaw.

You can be certain we will be in for Camavinga when he is up for sale next summer. So will PSG and RM so Pogba is our only selling point unless we improve a lot over the next 10 months.
Or train, teach them like Rashford

We certainly give our own homegrown youth a chance. I’m talking more about 18-22 year olds from other clubs. Despite some very serious courting, both Haaland and Bellingham avoided us.
Is that it, your upset? Fear not there are lots of talented players.

I really believe that Haaland was missed because Raiola was trying to turn us over and Ole was job wasn't safe.

With Bellingham, 56k a week is a lot of money for a teenager, Mason is on 25k.

Ole or Woodward is trying to bring down the wage bill.
 

sammsky1

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Bellingham and Haaland are more of an exception to the rule. Generally speaking when an elite club is in for a young player, they'll go there. Dortmund are hardly minnows either so they dont really break that rule anyway.
And yet KDB, Salah and Lukaku all had to leave Chelsea to develop their careers?
 

Woodenlung

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Dortmund are an exceedingly well run club that develops young players to a high standard. I think United lost that reputation a bit after Ferguson retired and it's only in recent years that we've started fielding a lot of academy players again.

I think another factor is how poorly we're run as a football operation. We've seen it in the summer when Mourinho came second and this summer too. Our owners won't spend a penny more than they can get away with. We've yo-yo'd up and down the table as a result.
 

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And yet KDB, Salah and Lukaku all had to leave Chelsea to develop their careers?
I thought your issue was with young players choosing other teams.

Those three are on Chelsea/Mourinho. Many teams are able to accommodate the development of young players whilst winning trophies and save millions in buying them when they've established themselves - Joe Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Sane, Gabriel Jesus have won the league and featured heavily in the two years. It'd be madness to ignore that demographic.
 

cyril C

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Bellingham and Haaland signed for Dortmund for 2 reasons only. They will have a release clause inserted into their contract for a very reasonable price, BUT their agent will receive equal payment. The players will be promised playing time to maximise their market value.

If MU is turning into a feeder club then this is the strategy that we should pursue. Get 20-30m profit and move on your product every 3 years....
 

SinNombre

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If MU is turning into a feeder club then this is the strategy that we should pursue. Get 20-30m profit and move on your product every 3 years....
Exactly.

Some United fans are essentially asking why United is run as a destination club, and not as a feeder club.
 

RedRonaldo

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Dortmund is the best place for youngster, a perfect stepping stone to move to big club with big contract later.
 

roonster09

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Mourinho is often derided for not finding space for teenage De Bruyne, Lukaku, Salah and more,
None of them were teenagers. KdB was 23 when he left Chelsea, Lukaku was 21 and Salah was 23/34. Far from teenagers who couldn't get games at Chelsea.
 

roonster09

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And yet KDB, Salah and Lukaku all had to leave Chelsea to develop their careers?
There are many examples where young players were the core players or played important role in the elite teams. Don't even have to look at any other clubs too, our come back was done with the emergence of Ronaldo and Rooney who joined when they were just 18, both developed at ManUtd and carried the team to awesome heights.

If we have to ignore that and look at recent examples, then TAA at Liverpool who played key role in both CL and PL wins, Gomez too played whenever fit.
Sane was signed as a 20 year old player and played key role in 2 title wins as 21 and 22 year old player.
Sterling was signed when he was just 21 and played key role in City since the time he was signed.

Bayern:
Sule - 22 when Bayern signed him
Alaba - Academy player
Thiago - 22 when Bayern signed him
Davies - 19 when Bayern signed him
Gnabry - 22 when Bayern signed him
Coman - 21
Kimmich - 20

Madrid
Carvajal - 21
Militao - 21
Varane - 18
Sergio Ramos - 19
Benzema - 22
Marcelo - 19
Casemiro - 21
Valverde - 18
Asensio - 18
Isco - 21
Vinicius - 18
Rodrygo - 18

There are plenty of examples to pick from the clubs who are doing well.

ManUtd also didn't challenge for the league with players like Zlatan leading the line, later with Lukaku and then with experienced players like Sanchez, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Valencia, Young, Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Herrera playing for the team. Can't pin the lack of challenge on young players like Rashford, Martial who are better than most players in our team and also among the best players in the league in their position.
 

AsonUnique

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It's fun to have exciting prospects but you need a balance on the field and in the locker room. It's so much harder for a premier league team to be successful doing this because it is a much more competitive league. Dortmund have a good year and they can maybe have a good Champions League run and put some pressure on Bayern and when the stars align win the Bundesliga. But even in a poor year they will get a champions league spot. This allows them to give youth more opportunities when they rest players for Champions League and play against much weaker opposition and still the favorite to get points out of it.

With that said I don't think we should sign Bale type players but keep looking for players that have proven themselves at a top level and still have the potential for more. Look at pool, Mane and Salah joined at 24-25, van Dijk 27 etc. That's why I see Reguilon fitting this profile at 23, Maguire joined at 26, AWB 21, Bruno 26. As those players get older we blood in some academy players and recruit replacements as needed to create a balance.
 
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hobbers

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Problem is the piece of shit superagents get hold of these kids when they're 16/17 and make it financially unfeasible for big clubs to take the same sort of risks on young players they might have done a decade ago.

Their careers are mapped out to maximise the number of big career moves and thus maximise their agents' income.

If you have to be pay upwards of £20m, £30m etc to some scumbag superagent, in addition to the actual transfer fee, just to sign a player, you're going to want that player to be the finished article.
 

Mark Pawelek

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Dortmund are an exceedingly well run club that develops young players to a high standard. I think United lost that reputation a bit after Ferguson retired and it's only in recent years that we've started fielding a lot of academy players again.

I think another factor is how poorly we're run as a football operation. We've seen it in the summer when Mourinho came second and this summer too. Our owners won't spend a penny more than they can get away with. We've yo-yo'd up and down the table as a result.
A lot of owners are the same. When they were more free-spending under Mourinho we didn't do much better and the football was nearly always worse. If we were run better, by a Director of football, I'd expect him to be much tighter. Many United fans seem crazy to me. They whinge about the club being run badly yet crave ever more massive spending sprees, ever bigger agent bonuses, player wages, ...
 

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Dortmund is the best place for youngster, a perfect stepping stone to move to big club with big contract later.
Bellingham has not long since turned 17 yet he is already on higher wages than the vast majority of players in the Premier League.

If Dortmund had offered him the same wages as United he would almost certainly be at United now, the same for Haaland, and if City hadn't put a 'anybody but United' into his contract Sancho would probably have moved to United two years ago.
 

tombombadil

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I think things are not black and white. They are more shades of grey. There are many players and clubs going through many different routes simultaneously.

For the club, the key is balance. A spine of world class players supplemented by a squad with a good mix of experience and youth. So it's not about focusing on only buying youth players or only buying ready made finished products. It is about maintaining this balance in the squad and adding to the squad areas that need fixing.
 

MadDogg

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Bellingham has not long since turned 17 yet he is already on higher wages than the vast majority of players in the Premier League.

If Dortmund had offered him the same wages as United he would almost certainly be at United now, the same for Haaland, and if City hadn't put a 'anybody but United' into his contract Sancho would probably have moved to United two years ago.
They've put that in a few of their other sales in recent years, but Sancho isn't one of them.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Sancho is better than most 24-27 year olds so it seems pretty illogical of the OP to purely focus on age instead of actual quality and performances.

Who would you sign with a view to winning titles soon - 22 year old 'kid' Messi or 27 year old Lukaku/Pogba?
 

amolbhatia50k

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There are many examples where young players were the core players or played important role in the elite teams. Don't even have to look at any other clubs too, our come back was done with the emergence of Ronaldo and Rooney who joined when they were just 18, both developed at ManUtd and carried the team to awesome heights.

If we have to ignore that and look at recent examples, then TAA at Liverpool who played key role in both CL and PL wins, Gomez too played whenever fit.
Sane was signed as a 20 year old player and played key role in 2 title wins as 21 and 22 year old player.
Sterling was signed when he was just 21 and played key role in City since the time he was signed.

Bayern:
Sule - 22 when Bayern signed him
Alaba - Academy player
Thiago - 22 when Bayern signed him
Davies - 19 when Bayern signed him
Gnabry - 22 when Bayern signed him
Coman - 21
Kimmich - 20

Madrid
Carvajal - 21
Militao - 21
Varane - 18
Sergio Ramos - 19
Benzema - 22
Marcelo - 19
Casemiro - 21
Valverde - 18
Asensio - 18
Isco - 21
Vinicius - 18
Rodrygo - 18

There are plenty of examples to pick from the clubs who are doing well.

ManUtd also didn't challenge for the league with players like Zlatan leading the line, later with Lukaku and then with experienced players like Sanchez, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Valencia, Young, Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Herrera playing for the team. Can't pin the lack of challenge on young players like Rashford, Martial who are better than most players in our team and also among the best players in the league in their position.
Exactly.
 

LucasXXII

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Problem is the piece of shit superagents get hold of these kids when they're 16/17 and make it financially unfeasible for big clubs to take the same sort of risks on young players they might have done a decade ago.

Their careers are mapped out to maximise the number of big career moves and thus maximise their agents' income.

If you have to be pay upwards of £20m, £30m etc to some scumbag superagent, in addition to the actual transfer fee, just to sign a player, you're going to want that player to be the finished article.
How is it a bad thing that big clubs find it harder to snatch young elite talents from smaller clubs?
 

RedRonaldo

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Bellingham has not long since turned 17 yet he is already on higher wages than the vast majority of players in the Premier League.

If Dortmund had offered him the same wages as United he would almost certainly be at United now, the same for Haaland, and if City hadn't put a 'anybody but United' into his contract Sancho would probably have moved to United two years ago.
They still need to play regularly to earn a big contract in few years time.
Take Sancho and Foden as an example, 2 big talent youngster from City at same age. Sancho moves to Dortmund at very young age and already have 2 worldclass season in his CV, he is currently on around 200k weekly, and could easily earn up to 250-300k in his next big move, at the age of 20. Dortmund will earn a lot selling him later.
While Foden has been very promising but still struggling to start games at City, his current salary is around 12k weekly (maybe more now? But don’t see him earn more than 100k anytime soon), he hasn’t quit make it yet with limited game time.
 

Adam-Utd

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It's fair to say recruitment has moved in ages now.

18 isn't young anymore, you need to get the kids at 15-16. By 18 they want to play first team football.

I genuinely do think it's better for these kids to go somewhere and play more regularly at a lower level than just sit in the academy playing reserve matches or getting on the bench of the first team. By the time they are 20-22 they're already deemed too old.
 

Amerifan

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I was reading many envious posts about Dortmund being able to field Sancho, Haaland and Bellingham in the same team, all players we’ve tried to get into United.

But isn’t it now fact that elite young professional talent will always seek smaller or less elite clubs to gain regular game time and develop under less scrutiny? Sancho is the poster boy for such a career strategy.

Mourinho is often derided for not finding space for teenage De Bruyne, Lukaku, Salah and more, but the reality is he could never have won the PL with inconsistent youth protégés. Foden struggles to get game time at City. This can also be true for homegrown youth players as Manchester United experienced with Pogba, Chong and Gomez leaving the club to get game time. Manchester United have also never threatened to win the league while having the likes of teenage Rashford and Martial develop their potential.

Given Manchester United have aspirations of being a PL winning team, is chasing this demographic a waste of time? If I were Haaland or Bellingham I wouldn’t join Manchester United at this stage of my career. And if you do get them to join, they normally lower the standard of a top team because they’ve yet to reach potential.
It would be a bad strategy if kids stayed kids. They don’t. As they mature together they’ll build a class of 92 style team. Can’t think of anything better. We just need to be patient. I’m totally on board with giving them the time they need.
 

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They've put that in a few of their other sales in recent years, but Sancho isn't one of them.
That may well be the case but City steered him away from United when it looked as though he was coming to Old Trafford, his best buddy Angel Gomes all but confirmed it. Dortmund offering him twice what United would have in wages helped as well.
 

Skills

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We're like any other club. We gave up on Dalot a season after we spent £20m on him.
 

hobbers

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How is it a bad thing that big clubs find it harder to snatch young elite talents from smaller clubs?
The small clubs still lose their elite talents. Except like with Bellingham or De Ligt or countless others they end up steered to a Dortmund or Juve rather than straight to the Real Madrids and Uniteds.
 

Chief123

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I was reading many envious posts about Dortmund being able to field Sancho, Haaland and Bellingham in the same team, all players we’ve tried to get into United.

But isn’t it now fact that elite young professional talent will always seek smaller or less elite clubs to gain regular game time and develop under less scrutiny? Sancho is the poster boy for such a career strategy.

Mourinho is often derided for not finding space for teenage De Bruyne, Lukaku, Salah and more, but the reality is he could never have won the PL with inconsistent youth protégés. Foden struggles to get game time at City. This can also be true for homegrown youth players as Manchester United experienced with Pogba, Chong and Gomez leaving the club to get game time. Manchester United have also never threatened to win the league while having the likes of teenage Rashford and Martial develop their potential.

Given Manchester United have aspirations of being a PL winning team, is chasing this demographic a waste of time? If I were Haaland or Bellingham I wouldn’t join Manchester United at this stage of my career. And if you do get them to join, they normally lower the standard of a top team because they’ve yet to reach potential.
I would say the key difference between Dortmund using this strategy and Utd is levels of risk. Dortmund can take the risk with youngsters with potential and still achieve 2nd place with champions league football every season. If a top 6 premier league team tried the same approach, the risk of it not working one or two seasons can end up with them playing catch up for the next 5 years just trying to get back into the champions league spots. For all the success stories at Dortmund, I'm sure there's a lot that don't make it as they expected. The pressure levels are totally different as well.
 

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They still need to play regularly to earn a big contract in few years time.
Take Sancho and Foden as an example, 2 big talent youngster from City at same age. Sancho moves to Dortmund at very young age and already have 2 worldclass season in his CV, he is currently on around 200k weekly, and could easily earn up to 250-300k in his next big move, at the age of 20. Dortmund will earn a lot selling him later.
While Foden has been very promising but still struggling to start games at City, his current salary is around 12k weekly (maybe more now? But don’t see him earn more than 100k anytime soon), he hasn’t quit make it yet with limited game time.
I know which one i'd rather have in my team, and it's not the one chasing money at 17/18/19 and changing clubs every few years.
 

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And yet KDB, Salah and Lukaku all had to leave Chelsea to develop their careers?
You kind of prove the point you're arguing against. They chose Chelsea first though, didn't they? And left because were not given first team football. And it's a win-win situation as they grew in their careers while Chelsea made profit on their sales.
 

sammsky1

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You kind of prove the point you're arguing against. They chose Chelsea first though, didn't they? And left because were not given first team football. And it's a win-win situation as they grew in their careers while Chelsea made profit on their sales.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that its incredibly difficult to seriously compete for PL when you have 18-22 olds in your team. It will work for you if you're an improving project, like LVG's/OGS's process, but fans then need to accept several seasons at top 4 level, and our fans haven't shown much appetite for that.

Rooney/Ronaldo was quoted above, but even they required 3 years of 'developing' before they were able to dominate the team and win a league.

OGS is strategically shopping within this age group, which is why missing Haaland and Bellingham is felt so keenly; Im just questioning the outcome of such a startegy.
 

Josep Dowling

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The simple fact is football has changed dramatically from 20 years ago. Agents know they can earn more money by making players move to ‘smaller’ clubs, get game time and then they get the big pay day later down the line. Clubs like Dortmund know this but accept they won’t keep these players for long, hence they get a lot of promising youngsters to the club. Their squad looks great on paper but their star players never hang around long enough for them to win any of the major titles.

Manchester United have taken a long time to adapt to this change but there appears to be some movement over the last 18 months. We are pinching players below the 18 to 22 age brackets who are the best in their age group. It will take a couple of years for this strategy to come into fruition but hopefully it works. The big difference between us and a lot of other elite clubs is we actually give our youth players a chance.
 

georgipep

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that its incredibly difficult to seriously compete for PL when you have 18-22 olds in your team. It will work for you if you're an improving project, like LVG's/OGS's process, but fans then need to accept several seasons at top 4 level, and our fans haven't shown much appetite for that.

Rooney/Ronaldo was quoted above, but even they required 3 years of 'developing' before they were able to dominate the team and win a league.

OGS is strategically shopping within this age group, which is why missing Haaland and Bellingham is felt so keenly; Im just questioning the outcome of such a startegy.
Well, let me give you this evidence then:

2012-13 (last SAF season, Man Utd):
De Gea (21), Jones (20), Smalling (22), Evans (24), Buttner (23), Rafael (21), Fabio (21), Cleverley (22), Anderson (24), Kagawa (23), Chicharito (24), Welbeck (21), Macheda (20)

2013-14 (Man City):
Rodwell (23), Nastasic (21), Jovetic (24), Boyata (24)

2014-15 (Chelsea):

Zouma (20), Ake (20), Oscar (23), Hazard (24)

2015-16 (Leicester):
Chilwell (18), Amartey (20), Kante (24), James (23), Schlupp (22), Gray (19), Mahrez (24), Kramaric (24)

2016-17 (Chelsea):

Zouma (22), Ake (22), Loftus-Cheek (21), Kenedy (21), Chalobah (22)

2017-18 (Man City):
Stones (23), Sterling (23), Laporte (23), Sane (22), B. Silva (23), Mendy (23), Ederson (24), Jesus (21), Zinchenko (21), Foden (17)

2018-19 (Man City):
Stones (24), Sterling (24), Laporte (24), Sane (23), B. Silva (24), Mendy (24), Jesus (22), Zinchenko (22), Foden (18)

2019-20 (Liverpool):

Gomez (23), Alexander-Arnold (21)

Obviously not every title-winning squad had a lot of U24 (I intentionally increased the age range to 24) but you can also tell that it is absolutely normal to have young squad members. The balance is important. And not all young players need time to develop. Look at City's youngsters. Did they need 3 seasons to develop?
 

sammsky1

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Well, let me give you this evidence then:

2012-13 (last SAF season, Man Utd):
De Gea (21), Jones (20), Smalling (22), Evans (24), Buttner (23), Rafael (21), Fabio (21), Cleverley (22), Anderson (24), Kagawa (23), Chicharito (24), Welbeck (21), Macheda (20)

2013-14 (Man City):
Rodwell (23), Nastasic (21), Jovetic (24), Boyata (24)

2014-15 (Chelsea):
Zouma (20), Ake (20), Oscar (23), Hazard (24)

2015-16 (Leicester):
Chilwell (18), Amartey (20), Kante (24), James (23), Schlupp (22), Gray (19), Mahrez (24), Kramaric (24)

2016-17 (Chelsea):
Zouma (22), Ake (22), Loftus-Cheek (21), Kenedy (21), Chalobah (22)

2017-18 (Man City):
Stones (23), Sterling (23), Laporte (23), Sane (22), B. Silva (23), Mendy (23), Ederson (24), Jesus (21), Zinchenko (21), Foden (17)

2018-19 (Man City):
Stones (24), Sterling (24), Laporte (24), Sane (23), B. Silva (24), Mendy (24), Jesus (22), Zinchenko (22), Foden (18)

2019-20 (Liverpool):
Gomez (23), Alexander-Arnold (21)

Obviously not every title-winning squad had a lot of U24 (I intentionally increased the age range to 24) but you can also tell that it is absolutely normal to have young squad members. The balance is important. And not all young players need time to develop. Look at City's youngsters. Did they need 3 seasons to develop?
increasing to age 24 is a totally different age group. I'd expect an elite potential player to be flying age 23+.

Even age 22 is the very end of their 'development' years. Its telling that you list (thanks for making it) doesn't include many aged 18-20 (ie first years of a pro contract).
 
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