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Manchester United confirm the signing of Belgian Wonderkid

The Daily Mail report that Manchester United have today confirmed the signing of 16-year-old Belgian wonderkid Indy Boonen from Genk. The attacking midfielder – who can also play at left back – was coveted by Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester City, along with Dutch side Feyenoord and the German team Wolfsburg but decided to ply his trade at Old Trafford.

Boonen comes from a footballing family, his father was a professional in the 1990’s for Lierse, Beveren and Lokeren, and his younger brother (goalkeeper Seppe – 13) has also caught the eye of Louis van Gaal and his scouts. Speaking to HLN (a Belgian newspaper), Indy’s father described his son as a “much bigger talent than I ever was“, and also plans to move the family over to England to support his son on his new adventure.

Boonen joins a growing contingent of Belgians and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Marouane Fellaini and fellow wonderkid Adnan Januzaj by representing the senior side. When also speaking to HLN, Indy Boonen stated;

“It’s like I’m in a dream. The training sessions are hard but I don’t feel the tiredness when I realise I have signed for Manchester United.”

The confirmation heralds the end of a month-long trial, prompted by him catching the eye playing for former side Genk against United back in  April 2013, and has been trailed by the Red Devils ever since, until he recently turned 16 and was therefore able to negotiate professional terms.

This signing is one of a recent trend from Van Gaal and United. Young defender Sadiq El Fitouri joined on an 18-month contract from Salford City in the Evo-Stick First Division, and young striker Drew Lewis has been taken on a trial from Vanarama Conference Premier side Southport as Louis van Gaal looks to plan for the future beyond his tenure.

There is also a trend appearing with players choosing to join United over any other alternative. The prospect of genuine first team exposure is very much playing in our favour, this season alone there have been four academy products as regular first teamers (Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair, Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson) and others; such as Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard (though injury did hamper him) have featured too. It is certainly a far more attractive prospect than Manchester City where young players are well and truly ignored, and Arsenal where the likelihood is you will play, but without any glory.

A left footed playmaker, and versatile to boot, it will be interesting to keep tabs on his progress and if he settles on one position. The noise being made around his ability is all positive, but we all know talk and action are two very different things. With him being 16, we may not have to wait all too long to see him in action, it is not uncommon for attacking players around 17/18 years of age (Adnan Januzaj) to get an opportunity. Let’s just hope this isn’t another case of

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