'I hope' - Man Utd put on alert as £6m gem sends transfer plea

Erik ten Hag is keen to bring in attacking reinforcements at Man Utd and may already have a potential star who wants the move.
George Ilenikhena has been speaking about Man Utd.George Ilenikhena has been speaking about Man Utd.
George Ilenikhena has been speaking about Man Utd.

Royal Antwerp striker George Ilenikhena aims to be a Premier League player in five years and has explored the possibility of signing for boyhood club Manchester United. Ilenikhena is currently enjoying a breakout season in Antwerp, his 18 league appearances producing five goals. The 17-year-old also enjoyed a dream moment in his side's Champions League campaign, netting an added-time winner against Barcelona.

The Nigerian, who is valued at £6m, rejected approaches from Juventus and Marseille to join Antwerp in June of last year and the forward has made no secret of his desire to eventually make the move into a top European league. He grew up watching United's Champions League exploits and is seemingly open to an Old Trafford move.

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“I used to watch a lot of matches in the Champions League, I saw how players like Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals," Ilenikhena told Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws (via SportWitness). "Now I was there myself. That first moment after my goal… I couldn’t believe it.

“He is the best footballer of all time. He inspires others and is also a good person off the field. I watch his videos all the time. So, it should come as no surprise that Manchester United are my favourite club, right? Cristiano played there, didn’t he? But I also really like Mbappé or Haaland.”

“Where do I want to be in five years? I hope for the Premier League. That competition really appeals to me. You never know which team will win, almost every match is exciting. It’s fun to watch. The way of playing football, the fans, the experience, the atmosphere.”

Ilenikhena's recent form suggests a move to a top European club could be on the horizon in the future, but the Nigerian only turned 17 in August and is in no rush. United are open to attacking reinforcements this summer, once Sir Jim Ratcliffe's investment is fully ratified, but it is expected that they will move for a more experienced option.

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Rasmus Hojlund arrived in a £72million deal last summer but is only 20-years-old. The Danish international has shown flashes of brilliance during his early months at Old Trafford but could do with learning and developing alongside someone with more games under his belt.

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