It’s not something often seen, but Manchester United is about to catch a child prodigy who will be leaving rivals Manchester City.
As Sportsmail revealed exclusively on Friday, United is confident of signing 16-year-old striker Charlie McNeill, a player who has scored a whopping 600 goals in youth football.
The England under-16 international left City six weeks ago after he turned down a professional contract at Etihad Stadium and United wants to take the plunge to redraw a player who left them six years ago.
Charlie McNeill will leave Man City and is about to sign for Manchester United
McNeill scored an amazing 600 goals in youth football for both Manchester clubs
But since McNeill doesn’t turn 17 until September, the two rivals will either have to agree on a fee – likely seven digits – or risk losing the details to a tribunal.
City will also look into a number of performance-related clauses that have caused a stalemate in recent weeks.
McNeill is actually a fan of United and the striker’s incredible scoring performance started with their juniors and continued in City.
And some numbers are overwhelming – he scored 110 goals and contributed 38 assists in just 72 games in City’s under-15 side.
But when he was elevated to City’s under-18 squad, the playing options for McNeill became more limited.
McNeill scored a whopping 110 goals in 72 games during his time with Man City under 15
McNeill is seen as the center of celebrations as Man City claimed the Premier League Under-15 International Tournament on Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham last year
McNeill struggled for playtime after making the move to Man City’s under-18 side
Last season, he made three substitutes in the Premier League Under-18, which remained the case in 2019-20 with four more appearances and only one start before the season was cut short due to Covid-19.
Mind you, McNeill proved a point by scoring his first goal in that age group in a 2-1 win over Blackburn in February.
That led to McNeill looking for more opportunities elsewhere and when he left, he posted on Instagram: ‘Thanks a lot to @mancity for everything over the past 6 years.
“It was so much fun playing with great players and making great friends [sic]. Thanks to all staff and players for helping me develop as a player and also as a person. I wish everyone the very best, thank you. ‘
The 16-year-old wrote a gracious message thanking City for everything when he left
A number of clubs, including United, Wolves and Leeds, have expressed interest in McNeill
The accompanying photos showed that his six years with City had been very successful.
He is at the forefront of a group photo after City won the Premier League Under-15 International Tournament held at Chelsea’s training field in Cobham last year when they defeated Arsenal 1-0 in the final.
There is also a photo of McNeill holding two trophies with a medal around his neck at the equivalent tournament under 14 a year earlier.
A few weeks earlier, McNeill posted a video compilation of his best bits of the season and it’s no wonder United, as well as RB Leipzig, Leeds and Wolves, have shown interest.
The variety of goals scored by McNeill in these under-16 and under-17 matches is the most striking aspect.
The talented striker has already signed a contract with Adidas
McNeil, Josh McNamara and Shea Charles with their medals after City won the Under-18 Premier League Cup final in March
There are real highlights of reel hits of 30 or 40 meters, similar to those of Steven Gerrard or Paul Scholes.
McNeill likes to cut in the last defender and bend shots over the keeper, while some are more deceiving near post-processing.
There are also poacher’s targets in the mind of Harry Kane, perfectly timed darts in space in the box for a short-range finish.
He also appears to be an insured penalty taker with a cheeky Panenka slipping in for good measure.
McNeill (back row, second from left) is lining up for his England U15 debut against Belgium
McNeill’s under 15 assist record also suggests he’s more than happy to pass or cross when teammates are in better positions.
International recognition with England has followed so far with four appearances for the team under 16. His only goal for the Young Lions came in a 5-1 win over Moldova at the Aegean Cup last year.
It remains to be seen if City and United can hand out a deal for the teen, but there’s no question that McNeill is a born goalscorer.