Meet the midfielder whose future Man United hope to shape

Manchester United invested heavily in their central midfield stocks this summer, but that isn’t stopping the Red Devils planning for the future makeup of their engine room.

Sizeable cheques were signed off to bring in Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger during the last transfer window, giving Louis van Gaal plenty of options in the centre of the park as he juggles multiple competitions this season.

However, with Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick both north of 30, it makes sense that United start scouting for Old Trafford’s midfield stars of tomorrow.

To this end the papers are unanimous in revealing that the Red Devils are closely monitoring the rapid rise of Red Star Belgrade prospect Marko Grujic.

The 19-year-old’s performances for Red Star and Serbia’s youth teams, where he was integral to helping his country to lift the U20s World Cup this summer, have alerted United to the teenager’s potential.

Standing at 6ft 3” Grujic is blessed with the kind of physique that could see him cope well in English football, while he is already developing a reputation as a multi-faceted midfielder with a very keen eye for goal.

The Red Star Academy graduate has burst onto the scene for the Serbian Superliga leaders this season, scoring three times in 10 starts, unsurprisingly earning him instant fan-favourite status.

At such an early stage of his career it seems that United would only have to part with around £3m to prise him away from the Serbian outfit, though the 13-time Premier League champions may pay a bigger price if they dally too long.

Chelsea are another club supposedly keeping more than a beady eye on Grujic’s accelerated progress, according to several reports.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United had a reputation for seeking out and developing the continent’s brightest prospects, where Cristiano Ronaldo is still the most famous example of acting early in order to reap the rewards.

If Van Gaal is hoping to leave a legacy at Old Trafford then signing players such as Grujic could be integral, as the Dutchman has indicated he is highly unlikely to exceed his current three-year deal with the club.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.