Manchester United’s next big star may already be at Old Trafford

Manchester United’s pursuit of a mystery striker has dominated the headlines this week but the next big thing could already be at Old Trafford.

Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal set tongues wagging earlier this week by revealing he is searching for a new partner for Wayne Rooney but that it is not a player the club have already been linked with.

This would seemingly rule out the likes of Thomas Muller, Edinson Cavani, Harry Kane and Karim Benzema but United could have the answer to their attacking needs already at their disposal.

Andreas Pereira endured a mixed season at U21 level for the club last season but still managed to walk away with the Player of the Season award and his performances at the U20 World Cup showed he may have what it takes to cut it at the highest level.

The 19-year-old started his career with Belgian side Lommel before being snapped up by the PSV Eindhoven youth academy.

His eye-catching performances in Holland were enough to convince United to sign him in 2014 and his development the in north-west means breaking into the first team is clearly on the horizon.

Further credibility was afforded to the attacker’s cause in the wake of a dazzling display in United’s recent 1-0 win over Club America in the International Champions Cup.

The Belgium-born Brazilian was used on the left side of a 4-4-1-1 formation by Van Gaal in the second half against the Mexican outfit and while the Red Devils failed to build on Morgan Schneiderlin’s debut opener the youngster posed a constant threat.

Pereira will have to contend with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj, Memphis Depay and Juan Mata for a starting berth at Old Trafford but the United boss’ reputation for putting faith in youth and the player’s rising performance levels mean he could have a huge part to play in the coming years.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.