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Manchester United sign ‘unique footballing talent’ with player joining academy

Manchester United look set to complete the signing of Norwegian teenager Isak Hansen-Aarøen. The player is due to turn 16 on Saturday (22 August 2020). The teenager became the youngest ever player for Tromsø when he made his debut at 15 years 319 days earlier this season and featured seven times in the clubs first team, coming from the bench and assisting in his final appearance for the club in a 5-0 victory over Sandnes Ulf. The teenager has also scored three goals in three appearances for Norway U16s.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had Scandanavia scouted during his time as United manager, seeking to find the best young talent in the region and the club reportedly feel that they have signed a great talent in Hansen-Aarøen. Tromsø wished the teenager well in a post on their Instagram account Friday, confirming that the player has now left the club. The post , according to The Mirror, stated:

“A wonderful person. A unique football talent. Who just loves to play football now.

“From Fløya to TIL as a junior, into the academy as a 10-year-old, learns at the TIL school and debut for the first team as a 15-year-old. Assist in his last match for Tromsø IL.

“Thank you so much for the last ten years and good luck in Manchester United and on in your career. We hope you have a great time, see you soon.”

United have seemingly been scouring the glob to bring in the best talent to the clubs academy, making waves last summer, especially with the arrival of Hannibal Mejbri. This summer, the arrival of Hansen-Aarøen will be seen as a good acquisition with the player being highly-rated at Tromsø. United have already confirmed the signings of Joe Hugill, Logan Pye and Radek Vitek. The club has also been linked with Manchester City academy player Charlie McNeill, Barcelona fullback Marc Jurado and Real Madrid left-back Alvaro Fernandez Carreras.

As United look set to complete their summer spending at academy level, it is yet to be seen what moves United make when it comes to the first team, which needs some work this summer, in more than one position. The academy seems to be in the right hands though. Neil Ryan, the manager of the U18 team seems to be getting the player in that he feels will add something to his team and more importantly, add something to the club as they work to impress the manager at various age groups.

As Hansen-Aarøen has already had a sniff of first team action, he will be seeking to get a taste at United but he will probably have to wait a year or two for that, unless he plays in a pre-season friendly for the first tea, this summer, which might be doubtful. The player will be seeking to impress his coaches and earn a place in the U18 squad next season. It is possible that he could play at a younger level, but based on reports of the player’s ability, the U18 squad is the level he will probably start at, being tested at U19 level in the UEFA Youth League and possibly at U23 level.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United scouting Jens Peter Hauge showing the work the club is doing behind the scenes

Norwegian sensation Jens Petter Hauge was recently watched by top Manchester United scout Tommy Møller Nielsen in FK Bodø/Glimt’s 2-1 victory over Sandefjord on Sunday. The 20-year-old has made a total of 12 appearances for his club this season, which started in June, scoring eight goals and seven assists so far – 15 goal contributions meaning the player scores or assists on average every 1.25 matches which is a great statistic for the young winger.

Hauge predominantly plays on the left-wing but can also play on the right. He is contracted to FK Bodø/Glimt until the 31 December 2021, meaning he has just over a year remaining on his contract at the club. His last contract was signed on the 15 January 2020 and he joined the club back in April 2016, as a 16-year-old. The player will turn 21 in October. Møller Nielsen refused to confirm that he was scouting Hauge on Sunday and was quoted by The Sun as saying:

“It’s quite clear. When a club like Manchester United comes on the field, it will always be interesting.

“If that’s right [United scout watching him], then it’s very positive. But it’s not something I can go around thinking about because then my performance will drop.

“I have to focus on delivering. I will of course be very flattered if this is true, but I am now concentrating on performing in Glimt.”

Hauge is a talented footballer and has played in all but two of his clubs 14 matches played so far this season. His club sits at the top of the Eliteserien with 38 points after 14 matches, seven points clear of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club, Molde, who have played 15 matches this season. Since signing for the club around four years ago, Hauge have made a total of 108 appearances for his club, scoring 26 goals and 25 assists, which considering his age, is a good number of goals and assists.

Hauge made his debut at the age of 16 in the 2016 season and in the 2018 season, around the age of 18, the player was loaned to Norwegian club Aalesund where he made six appearances, failing to score a single goal or assist. Whilst nothing has been confirmed regarding United’s interest in the 20-year-old and the fact that Møller Nielsen has refused to say anything about his scouting mission this weekend, he did also speak to Dagbladet about his position as scout at United, saying:

“As Manchester United’s senior scout, I have a responsibility to keep up to date with what is happening in Scandinavia.

“Jens Petter Hauge plays, yes, but so do the rest of the players on the pitch. I check out all the players.”

Whilst there is nothing to suggest that Solskjaer is in the target to sign Hauge this summer, his performances at the club might warrant further inspection of the player with the transfer window closing on the 5 October and United needing to sign high-profile players this summer, there could be scope for United to do some kind of deal with the club, whether it be this summer, in January or next summer. It is even possible that United conduct a deal, leaving the player at the club for the remainder of the season. We shall see, I guess.

Written by John Walker

Paul Scholes feels that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a mistake not signing Erling Haaland in January

Former Manchester United midfielder and Class of 1992 graduate Paul Scholes feels that his former teammate and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed a trick not signing Erling Haaland during the January transfer window. This is despite the fact that Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood being on fire right now.

Martial have four goals in four matches, Greenwood has three in his last two matches and Rashford has only scored once, despite looking sharp since the restart. Borussia Dortmund signed Haaland for just £18 million in January, signing the Norwegian player from RB Salzburg with the player scoring 16 goals and three assists in 18 appearances since.

Scholes believes that Haaland could have been one of the final pieces in Solskjaer’s jigsaw at the club and could have gone a long way to solving United problems in front of goal this season. Solskjaer used to manage the striker at Molde. In total this season, Haaland has 44 goals and 10 assists in 40 appearances between both clubs.

It is certainly something that Scholes sees as a missed opportunity but for all he knows, Solskjaer could feel the exact same way. At the time the young Norwegian striker was linked to the club, United were in the middle of a rift with Mino Raiola, the agent who secured the move for Haaland. United were not going to do business with him again based on what he has been trying to engineer with Paul Pogba. Scholes said:

“Once the German football came back and I watched him properly, I thought, ‘Why did Manchester United not just pay whatever anybody wanted for him?’

“He looks that good, he’s still young, and he’s an out-and-out goalscorer. He’s quick as well, he’s got real pace. He’s a big lad, he’s a presence, and he scores goals – and that’s priceless.

“Looking back – and do you know what, he still might be available, who knows, in time – but United are going to have to pay big, big money for him. But so what? He looks the real deal.”

Whilst it looks like United have missed out, looking at Mason Greenwood, who has come a long way in his first proper season in the first team at the club, he excites a lot more that Haaland, in my opinion. Granted, I would love it if United signed a player like Haaland, who has come a long way in his ability over the last few years. Greenwood though in unexciting prospect and United lack of movement for Haaland could pay off.

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, James, Martial and Lingard lead the line against Kristiansund

Manchester United will take a break from the International Champions Cup when they face Kristiansund at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo, Norway this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a competent side to his homeland for the friendly fixture ahead of the final pre-season match of the summer which will pit United against AC Milan at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday.

United have played four matches so far this summer, beating Perth Glory 2-0, Leeds United 4-0, Inter Milan 1-0 and Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, which was their first conceded goal of the pre-season campaign. Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen from his squad this summer with the likes of Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Axel Tuanzebe, all from the Academy, starting to prove themselves.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw;

Matic, McTominay;

James, Lingard, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Smalling, Rojo, Young, Dalot, Tuanzebe; Pogba, Mata, Pereira, Fred, Gomes; Greenwood, Chong

Kristiansund:

McDermott;

Coly, Ulvestad, Psyche, Aasbak;

Cirak, Diop, Kalludra;

Bye, Kastrati, Gjertsen

Substitutes:

Hoven, Olsen, Sivertsen, Solli, Isaksen, Vaikla, Ulvestad, Diatta, Solskjaer, Gjesdal, Williamsen, Hopmark, Mbaye, Amang, Sormo

United and Kristiansund have never played each other before – this will be the first match. United has played in the Ullevaal Stadion before, just two years ago when Jose Mourinho’s squad faced Valerenga, a match in which the club won 3-0 with goals from Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and a debut goal in the senior team for Scott McTominay. United will be looking for more of the same against Solskjaer’s former club this evening.

Where Are They Now? Joshua King, the guy who helped relegate Sunderland…

Joshua King signed for Manchester United when he was 16 in January 2008, coming from Norwegian side Vålerenga. The Norwegian forward trained with United on various occasions before signing for the club, but UEFA rules prevented anything from being sealed before his 16th birthday. King played in the U18 squad after he was signed, making his debut in a 5-1 defeat at home to Sunderland back in March 2008. King had trial offers from Chelsea, Sunderland, and Ipswich Town but Manchester United was the team he wanted and signed for. King made one more appearance for the U18’s that season, also participating in the Blue Stars Youth Cup in May 2008. In the summer, King was part of the U17 United side which lifted the Northern Ireland Milk Cup, a prestigious tournament United have played in for years, missing the last two though, but they will be back in the tournament this summer.

The following season, King made two appearances in the Premier Academy League, suffering an injury in October 2008, which kept him out of action until the following January, which was going to become something the player would need to get used to. King made his return from injury, playing twice before United took on Bolton Wanderers in the Academy league where King scored twice in a 5-0 victory, he was then named in the squad in the Manchester Senior Cup, an unused substitute, before playing with United’s reserves, now the U23’s, where he replaced Robbie Brady against Bolton. On the 14th February 2009, King made his first start for the U18’s against Manchester City, then missing the following two months through injury. At the start of April 2009, King made his return from injury, seemingly trying to ensure United pushed for a strong finish, ending up in second-place to City – some 19 points behind their cross-city rivals.

During the 2009/10 season, King played more reserve league football, making the step up from the U18 league. He was rewarded with a place on the bench in a third round League Cup match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, given the number 41 shirt and in the 81st minute of the match, Long made his first team debut, replacing Danny Welbeck. King had two chances to add to United’s lead, which finished with United earning a fourth round place in the competition, which was against Barnsley. King made the squad for that match but did not make it onto the pitch. The Norwegian forward played the remainder of the season in the U18’s, scoring six times in 14 appearances, which is a pretty good achievement. United won group C in the Premier Academy League that season, being drawn against Arsenal, but United lost 5-3 on penalties, King scoring his.

Loan spells away from Manchester United

King was loaned to Championship side Preston North End for the first three months of the 2010/11, with a chance his loan spell could be extended. Sir Alex Ferguson’s son, Darren Ferguson was the manager of the club at the time. King linked up with fellow Academy player Matty James and became the club’s 1,000th player. King made his debut in a defeat to Doncaster Rovers. King scored his first goal in the League Cup that season, scoring the last goal in the 5-0 victory over Stockport Country, also getting an assist which included a 60-yard run down the right-wing. King was starting to shine but an injury would soon rule him out for the rest of the loan period, only to be loaned back to Preston the following January after the transfer window had opened again. During his time at Preston, King made 10 appearances, scoring one goal.

King was loaned to Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach during the 2011/12 season, which was confirmed on the 22nd July 2011 but delayed due to the player suffering a groin injury during international duty. The loan transfer was then concluded in August with the player moving to Germany. King’s spell in the Bundesliga was terminated early due to a recurrence of that groin injury, heading back to United after making only two appearances, failing to score a single goal. King moved to Hull City in January 2012 for the remainder of the season making his debut in a 1-0 away victory over Reading. During the loan spell, King still played for United’s reserves, something perfectly fine when on loan, as long as the player does not play for the first team of his parent club. King returned to United on the 1st May, playing in the reserve league once again, which was where he started the following season.

King, playing in the reserve league once again did not make the cut for the first team and was allowed to join Blackburn Rovers on loan for the first half of the 2012/13 season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager at the club. King made eight appearances whilst on loan, scoring two goals. His loan spell was made permanent the following January, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Lancashire club. King’s time at United was over, which was unfortunate as he was a decent player, but not good enough to make it through the liked of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie, which was a lot of talent to break through.

Career after Manchester United

Joshua King signed for Blackburn Rovers, a club where he had already played eight times, scoring twice – making a further 12 appearances that season, not scoring any more goals. Playing at Blackburn for a further two seasons, King made a total of 74 appearances, scoring eight goals in total. In May 2015, King turned down a new contract with Blackburn, switching to Premier League new boys AFC Bournemouth. King made his Premier League debut on the 8th August 2015, a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa. The Norwegian scored his first Premier League goal in a 2-2 draw against Swansea City on the 21st November 2015, something that will have inspired him to find many more goals in the future – something he has done for his club. King saw his side beat his former club, United on the 12th December that year, scoring the winning goal, which came from a corner in the 2-1 victory. King finished that season as the club’s top scorer with seven goals, not bad for a player who has fought his way to the top, now playing in the top flight.

At the start of the 2016/17 season, King and Bournemouth were still in the Premier League. King played 36 out of the 28 matches during the season, scoring 16 goals, which is a big increase from his first season at United. Bournemouth were safely into their third Premier League season. King has come a long way, probably not a player United regret losing, the player will not regret his time at the club either, it was a good starting point, one which helped him define his career in football. Probably the best goal King scored in the 2016/17 season was the one which confirmed Sunderland had been relegated, scored in the 88th minute of the match, with the Black Cats likely to live another day with a draw. After seeing the Sunderland supporters doing the Poznan on the final day of the season when Manchester City won the Premier League on goal difference with Sergio Aguero scoring a late goal, the confirmation of relegation could not have made me happier. King celebrated his then 15th goal of the season, scoring on the final day against Burnley, the winner after Sam Vokes equalised in the 83rd minute of the match, King striking two minutes later.

copyright: JW