While Ed Woodward is berated for signing only one player by the start of the transfer window, there’s been plenty of transfer action for Manchester United’s academy.
Eight academy players have been given scholarship deals as they move up into the under-18s.
Goalkeepers: Jacob Carney*, James Thompson
Defenders: Ethan Laird, Brandon Williams
Midfielders: James Garner, Dylan Levitt, Dion McGhee
Forwards: D’Mani Bughail-Mellor
*Taken on as an academy student.
James Garner and Dion McGhee made brief debuts for the under-18s last season in the final games of the season. Both are expected to be heavily involved from August. Garner has played frequently in central defence as well as in midfield while McGhee is a small but effective number 10.
There are two Mancunians with scholarship deals; forward D’Mani Bughail-Mellor and defender Brandon Williams. All are English, except Dylan Levitt, a Wales under-17 international.
Meanwhile, five players will join United. The club have confirmed two of those deals.
Northern Ireland under-17 captain Ethan Galbraith, a midfielder, signed a three-year deal with the Reds last weekend. While Galbraith is technically a new signing, he played frequently for United as a trialist at under-16 level, including at the Liam Brady Tournament in April against Arsenal, Juventus and Bayern Munich where he played with his new teammates.
The Northern Irishman visited Old Trafford in January as United drew 1-1 with Liverpool, a team he had trials at in 2015, and signed a pre-contract alongside Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Tony Coulter.
United scout Coulter spotted Galbraith while he was in action for Linfield’s under-16 side. The Irish FA’s Elite Performance Director, Jim Magilton, said that they’re “delighted that Ethan has signed for Manchester United.”
“He is an outstanding talent and I’m sure he will continue to develop and improve at such a fantastic club.”
The other signing confirmed by United is defender Dishon Bernard. Arriving from Chelsea, he’s signed a scholarship deal at United and will join up with the under-18s in the coming weeks.
Manager Kieran McKenna will take the squad to Austria for a pre-season training camp next week.
Three other signings have been completed. The first is of powerful box-to-box French midfielder Aliou Badara Traoré.
The 16-year-old was highly regarded at Paris Saint-Germain before leaving for lower league side Sarcelles in 2016 due to fears over a lack of playing time. Since then, he’s made his debut for France’s under-16 side. He scored in a trial at United back in February in a 7-0 win against Burnley at under-17 level and was watched by United scouts at the Montaigu Tournament when playing for France’s under-16s once more.
Traoré has signed a four-year deal, the first year of which being a scholarship before the option of a three-year professional contract. He was also being chased by Manchester City and Juventus.
Another midfielder, Arnau Puigmal, has signed after he impressed United coaches and scouts at the MIC Tournament, where his Espanyol side knocked a United under-16 team out at the quarter-final stage. He played in midfield in that game and his transfer will be confirmed once international clearance is given, as will Traoré’s.
The same can be said for United’s fifth and final signing of the summer, Charlton Athletic left-wing Largie Ramazani. The 16-year-old was born in Burundi and played for RSC Anderlecht for some years before moving to London and playing at Charlton for four or five seasons.
Like all the other new additions to the under-18 side, Ramazani signed his deal in the presence of manager Kieran McKenna and United legend and club ambassador, Andy Cole.
In other news, while Josh Harrop rejected a new deal at United in search of first team football with Preston North End, where he’s been given the number 10 shirt, five United players have signed extensions.
Goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara and Max Johnstone as well Matt Olosunde, Charlie Scott and Matty Willock have all accepted new deals.
Finally, Lech Poznań and Poland under-15 defender Łukasz Bejger will have a trial at United from July 31-August 5. The following day, he’ll try to impress Manchester City coaches with a trial there, too.