Much of the media attention this season has been on the higher profile signings, such as Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, et al. Here, we take a look at one of the lesser known acquisitions – Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
The Dutchman was signed on deadline day for an estimated £300,000 from the famed Ajax academy that has produced numerous stars. Highly rated back in his homeland, and having been capped for every level for the Netherlands international team (captaining the U17s), Fosu-Mensah attracted the attention of the biggest clubs around Europe but Man United managed to sign him.
Primarily a centre-back, Fosu-Mensah is a highly versatile player, equally comfortable on either side of defence and also in a holding midfield role. He is a powerful player with both pace and an exceptional reading of the game, reminiscent of Rio Ferdinand in his prime.
In the FA Youth cup game this week against Bury, Fosu-Mensah showed some qualities that players many years his senior lack. He is comfortable taking a man on and is confident receiving the ball with a player already on him.
As well as getting a foot in quickly to break attacks up, he also has excellent vision and quick thinking to utilise the ball well when he has won it, shown by the beautifully weighted through ball for Zachary Dearnley who then powered home an unstoppable strike which turned out to be the match winning goal.
After a lengthy wait for international clearance after signing on the 2 September, Fosu-Mensah only made his debut for the U18s on 15 November in a 2-0 defeat against Everton. However, at the age of 16 he has plenty of time on his side to impress and Van Gaal will undoubtedly already been told plenty about him through his Dutch connections.
From what he has shown so far, Fosu-Mensah is a player with immense potential if he can fulfil it. If United can develop his potential into his ability, then he could develop into a fine player.