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Rising star says Manchester United his favourite club, makes transfer wish clear

The starlet turned down offers from Juventus and Marseille to foster his development.

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Image Credits: Getty Images

Manchester United’s search for a new striker could soon reach a successful conclusion, as a young talent currently boasting a remarkable goal-scoring rate of one goal every 63 minutes has expressed interest in a move to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have been on the hunt for a forward to support Rasmus Hojlund, who has struggled to meet expectations after his £64m transfer. Hojlund’s challenging start in the Premier League has seen him score only twice in 16 games.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is committed to securing a top-tier striker, with aspirations akin to Harry Kane’s prowess, understanding that such a signing would command a hefty fee.

Recent news from Belgium points to Manchester United potentially securing French-Nigerian striker George Ilenikhena. The 17-year-old, currently with Royal Antwerp, has indicated a future interest in joining Manchester United.

Last summer, Ilenikhena turned down offers from Juventus and Marseille, opting instead for Royal Antwerp from French club Amiens for a reported fee of around €6m.

His decision, aimed at fostering his development, has paid dividends with the youngster scoring nine goals in just 564 minutes this season.

Despite his young age, Ilenikhena has made a significant impact, mostly in substitute appearances, including scoring a last-minute winner in Antwerp’s 3-2 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League on December 13.

In a conversation with Belgian media outlet Het Laatste Nieuws, Ilenikhena expressed his admiration for Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo. He mentioned his dream of playing in the Premier League within the next five years.

Speaking to Het Laatste Nieuws (via Sport Witness), Ilenikhena said, “I used to watch a lot of matches in the Champions League, I saw how players like Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals.

“Now I was there myself. That first moment after my goal (against Barcelona)… 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 Mbappe or Haaland.

“Where do I want to be in five years? I hope for the Premier League. That competition really appeals to me.”

While Manchester United has not officially pursued Ilenikhena, the young striker’s clear interest and the longstanding relationship between Royal Antwerp and Manchester United might favor United if they decide to make a move in the future.

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