Man Utd could rob Wayne Rooney of Derby protege as Red Devils ‘very much in transfer hunt’
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Manchester United are ‘very much’ in the hunt to sign Derby protege Malcolm Ebiowei, according to reports. The 18-year-old starlet has plenty of interest and could be signed on a free transfer.
United boss Erik ten Hag is keen to complete a busy summer of incomings at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are trying to complete a deal for top target Frenkie de Jong but will overhaul a squad that has become stale and perennially underachieved.
Ebiowei has been earmarked as a player who could arrive in Manchester this summer, especially after earning a glowing reference from United legend Wayne Rooney. The now-Derby boss rewarded Ebiowei with 16 Championship appearances last season after some excellent performances for the club’s U18s.
According to Goal, United are ‘very much’ in the race to sign the player, whose Derby contract expires at the end of the month. The financially-stricken Rams have reportedly offered Ebiowei a new contract but he is likely to be swooped by a Premier League team.
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Tottenham, Southampton and Crystal Palace have also been linked with a move for the London-born star, who has represented the Netherlands and England at youth level. Derby acquired him last summer following his release by Rangers and would be due compensation if he left on a free transfer. He previously played in Arsenal’s youth set-up.
Ebiowei was thrust into Derby’s first team after scoring seven goals in eight appearances for the U18s. He started 11 times in the Championship, scoring once and providing two assists.
With Derby already relegated despite a brave battle against a 21-point deduction, Ebiowei scored his first professional goal in a 2-0 win over Blackpool in April. Rooney offered a glowing reference of the teenager that will excite United fans.
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Rooney said: “I thought he was excellent all game, the best player on the pitch. It was one of the best performances I have seen from a young player, consistently for 90 minutes, in a long time.
“He deserved that because he has worked extremely hard. His attitude is incredible, he wants to learn and he is an exciting young player.
“His attitude is very good. He has got an enormous amount of ability, he is brave, he will take the ball, he is not afraid to take players on, to get tackled, to make mistakes. So he has got a really bright future.”
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