Manchester United privately concede that they made a mistake by failing to sign Brighton’s Evan Ferguson earlier in his career.
The Irishman has burst onto the scene this campaign and has already scored ten goals in all competitions for the Seagulls at the age of 18.
Ferguson’s maturity, finishing and even his composure on the ball has earned him comparisons with England skipper Harry Kane.
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So rapid has Ferguson’s development been this season that Man United were interested in signing him this summer.
But the teenager extended his deal at Brighton recently and wants to stay at the club so as not to disturb his development.
If Ferguson continues to develope at such a rate, Brighton will have little choice but to cash in on the Republic of Ireland attacker.
At that point, the Seagulls believe they can extract a fee of around £100m for Ferguson, given his trajectory and the level of interest in him around Europe.
The Red Devils will be in the frame when that day comes but even if they succeed in signing him, they will rue the fact he could have been at United at the age of 16 for a minimal fee.
Ferguson went on trial at Old Trafford but he wasn’t deemed good enough. Less than a year later, the boyhood United fan signed for Brighton.
According to SkySports, United academy director Nick Cox admits that was a ‘£50m mistake’ and it could end up costing United twice as much as that in future.
United will sign an established no.9 this summer, with Kane top of Ten Hag’s wishlist.
But the Dutchman would like to add a younger striker alongside Kane, and Ferguson would have been perfect addition.
But, United – as well as the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool – are positioning themselves to sign the Brighton star in years to come.