Man Utd ‘beat four clubs’ including Chelsea as Dino Klapija deal edges closer

Examining Man Utd's next five Premier League games

Manchester United are directly battling RB Leipzig over the signing of highly-rated teenage striker Dino Klapija, according to reports. The Red Devils have beaten heavyweight interest across Europe but await Klapija’s decision as he and his family assess the two options.

The 16-year-old plays for Croatian outfit NK Kustosija and has been capped twice for the nation’s U17 side. But he was born in New York and was recently called up for USA U17 duty.

According to the Mail, Klapija has attracted mass interest around the continent but has snubbed interest from AC Milan, Barcelona, Chelsea and Juventus.

It leaves Leipzig and United as his two preferred options, and both are ready to splash around £5million to seal a deal with Kustosija.

Klapija is in the final stage of his decision. The American starlet’s family are running ground checks to ensure his next destination will offer him the best chance of settling and continuing his education.

The report adds that Klapija’s transfer intentions are expected to become clear after the international break concludes this week.

United are also monitoring Leeds United winger Finley Gorman, 14, but face rival interest from Manchester City, among others.

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Erik ten Hag has wasted no time in emphasising the importance of the club’s youth academy to his long-term project.

The Dutchman left a club that strongly values its youth ranks to fruitful reward in Ajax for another but has reportedly been left disappointed with the lack of quality across United’s age levels.

Ten Hag oversaw an exodus of homegrown talent this summer to clarify that he will only welcome the brightest prospects into his first-team squad.

Dean Henderson joined Crystal Palace in a deal worth up to £20m, and Anthony Elanga left for Nottingham Forest, who paid £15m.

Matej Kovar to Bayer Leverkusen raked in £8m, while Axel Tuanzebe, Zidane Iqbal, Teden Mengi, Charlie Savage and Marc Jurado also departed.

After United’s 2-0 win against Leeds United at the start of pre-season, Ten Hag laid out his desire to implement at least one academy talent into his senior ranks every season.

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“This is their moment. So we have to improve the squad, you can do it with players who make transfers but also players who are across the whole academy,” Ten Hag told MUTV.

“Man United is famous [for] it. To bring young kids to above and to play in the first team. Last year, Garnacho made it.

“So I always hope for a minimum of one player who can go into our squad and compete for a starting position.”

This season, Kobbie Mainoo looks to have earned that opportunity. The 18-year-old midfielder is expected to play a part this term once he recovers from an injury against Real Madrid during the US tour.

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