Manchester United have always been on the lookout for promising young teens across the continent as they look to develop a team from within their youth ranks. Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has focused his transfer policy on acquiring the services of generational talents from youth sides of several prominent European clubs. As reported by French media outlet Telefoot via MEN, one among these starlets is Rayan Cherki of Olympique Lyon, who has had a breakout season into their first team and now is commanding vivid interest from major European powerhouses.
The French starlet has featured for the Olympique Lyon first team 12 times this season, playing about 450 minutes and contributing with 3 goals and 2 assists. His most notable performance was in Lyon’s 4-3 win over Nantes in the second round of the Coupe de France where he scored two quick goals in the first ten minutes and then set up the other two goals for his teammates Martin Terrier and Moussa Dembele.
Speaking after the game, Terrier described him as a “phenomenon.” and at having made his debut at only 16 years and 63 days, he is still over nine months ahead of when Mbappe went on to debut for Monaco. A versatile attacking midfielder or No. 10, Rayan Cherki is uniquely ambidextrous with remarkable technical skills that not only dazzle defenders away but also gets people to routinely question his age including Kylian Mbappe who knows a thing or two about being a teenage sensation.
Cherki, is presently tied down by Lyon with a two-year contract and has already attracted major interest from major clubs. Olympique Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas has recently confirmed that both United and Real Madrid had expressed an interest in the youngster, but failed to sign the prodigy earlier this season when Lyon managed to agree fresh terms with him.
President Aulas has backed the 16-year-old to become a leader for their attack emerging from their academy in the coming years. Since starring in their first team and youth team, he has managed to rekindle the interest United had in him and now set for a bright future at any of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Prior to this Rayan Cherki has also been sensational in their youth ranks. Starting in all of their games in the UEFA Youth League, the teenager scored in each of the four games he played, even bagging two against Benfica Juniors.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) January 18, 2020
Rayan Cherki has also featured in the recent 100 player’s shortlist for the prestigious Golden Boy award. He is accompanied by some of Europe’s finest young prospects, such as Erling Braut Haaland, Mason Greenwood, and Alphonso Davies. This is a testament to his ability and sheer talent that the 16-year-old has displayed, as compared to the aforementioned names, who are a few years older than him.
Further so, recently, Aulas told Tuttosport that Cherki had the potential to become “even better than Mbappe.” and Lyon’s resolution and determination to tie down the 16 year old to a three-year contract last summer clearly showcases the immense belief that Aulas and his team have on him and subsequently United and Real Madrid’s interest in him only add to this narrative.
In recent years, Manchester United have made a habit of signing gifted youngsters, making a few notable moves for their youth team. Former Monaco playmaker Hannibal Mejbri and Dillon Hoogewerf of the Ajax youth system are two of the most exciting stars of the United academy along with Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and Lee O’Connor.
However, it remains to be seen if United can add the young attacking-midfielder to their youth ranks. Whether they do or not, the future for the young French starlet remains extremely bright and a subsequent bidding war over the next year or so seems certainly inevitable.