The 16 Man Utd academy graduates playing elsewhere in Europe’s top leagues

Manchester United are well known for their academy as they have produced plenty of world-class talents over the years.

While not every academy graduate can make it at Old Trafford, plenty of their youngsters have forged a career elsewhere. Indeed, Zidane Iqbal is the latest player to test himself away from the club as he has completed a move to FC Utrecht.

We’ve taken a look at the 16 United academy graduates that were playing elsewhere in one of Europe’s top five leagues – the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 – in the 2022-23 season.

Jack Harrison

The Leeds United winger had some footballing upbringing as he spent time at United, Liverpool and Manchester City as a youngster. While his season ultimately ended in relegation with Leeds, he still had some standout moments.

It would be a surprise if he’s turning out in the Championship next season. Expect Premier League clubs to make offers for Harrison in the coming weeks.

Dwight McNeil

McNeil spent his formative years at Old Trafford before being released at the end of the 2013-14 season. He impressed while at Burnley and earnt himself a £20million move to Everton last summer.

Considering Everton’s struggles this year, McNeil did well for himself. He finished the season as the Toffee’s top scorer with seven goals and was often their most threatening player.

Andreas Pereira

After four loan spells away from United, the Brazilian left on a permanent basis last summer. Fulham picked him up and he hasn’t looked back since.

Now a fan favourite at Craven Cottage, Pereira helped guide Marco Silva’s men to a top half finish. Considering Fulham signed him for just £10million, he’s been worth every penny so far.

Paul Pogba

It’s been an injury-hit campaign for the former United academy graduate as he has seen his market value tank this season.

Atalanta BC - Juventus FC,Paul Pogba

READ: 10 players who have decreased the most in value since last summer: Mane, Pogba…

James Garner

After enjoying a successful loan spell with Nottingham Forest in the Championship, Everton snapped up Garner last summer. The midfielder, who was highly rated in United’s youth set-up, had a handful of notable performances for the Toffees.

“Dyche gave me a chance, which is ultimately the most important thing,” Garner told the club media. “It was up to me to take it, which I feel like I did. He gave me that chance and confidence to play – to show what I can do with belief.

“He also really wants me to get goals and assists. That’s what he’s telling me to do each week and in the games that I play. He really wants me to shoot, cross and assist – that’s what he’s trying to help me with.”

Michael Keane

A fellow former United graduate playing at Goodison Park, Keane had a somewhat stop-start season. The 30-year-old didn’t feature much under Frank Lampard, but was brought back into the starting lineup by Dyche towards the end of the year.

Angel Gomes

After becoming the club’s youngest debutant in 2017, Gomes seemed destined for the very top. His career path has taken away from Old Trafford tough as he is currently shining for Lille and England’s under-21s.

Pescara, Italy, 21st September 2022. Angel Gomes of England during the International Friendly match at Stadio Adriatico, Pescara.

READ: Angel Gomes is England’s U21 Euro baller & what could’ve been for Man Utd

Jesse Lingard

After racking up over 200 appearances for United and scoring several clutch goals, Lingard was after a fresh challenge this season. He ended up signing a one-year deal with newly promoted Nottingham Forest on a contract worth £115k a week.

While he did showcase some flashes of quality, the move ultimately didn’t go as planned. Lingard ended the campaign without a goal or assist in the league and he is now in search of his next club.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Now managed by Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen, the versatile Dutch defender has been playing in the Bundesliga since leaving Old Trafford in January 2021.

His time in Germany has been hampered by injury and last season was a similarly frustrating campaign as the 25-year-old only started in one league match.

“I have mixed emotions in regard to my time at the club so far because when I arrived I was playing regularly and enjoying my football,” the Dutch star told WFi.

“Unfortunately, after establishing myself in the team in my first season, I suffered a cruciate ligament injury which kept me out of action for ten months.

“The recovery from such an injury is tough and it required a lot of hard work and dedication to come back but the club fully supported me in my recovery which I am thankful for.”

Danny Welbeck

The 32-year-old continues to impress for Brighton and he played a vital role in them reaching the Europa League this season. “I arrived three years ago and since then we’ve improved in every season,” he told club media.

“I have played in some great teams and in some great tournaments but to get Brighton into Europe and be part of this amazing club and bring so much joy to the fans and everyone at the club makes me so proud.”

Sam Johnstone

While at United, Johnstone went out on 10 separate loan spells until he finally left the club on a permanent basis in 2018. He enjoyed some solid years with West Brom before moving to Crystal Palace in the summer.

Originally signed as a backup for Vicente Guaita, Johnstone forced his way into the starting 11 under Roy Hodgson towards the end of the season.

Joe Rothwell

After leaving United in 2016, Rothwell finally got his first stab at the Premier League this season. The Manchester-born midfielder had some standout years with Blackburn in the Championship and was poached by Bournemouth last summer.

The 28-year-old featured in 20 league matches for the Cherries and helped guide them to safety. All in all, a solid year for the former United academy graduate.

Largie Ramazani

The Belgian winger made one senior appearance for United and left the club in 2020 after rejecting a new deal. He has since been playing for Spanish outfit Almeria and he got his first taste of La Liga action this year following their promotion last year.

Almeria scraped survival on the final day, with a dramatic 3-3 draw with Espanyol. They survived by a single point in the end and will be hoping to kick on next year.

Ben Pearson

Once dubbed the ‘next Owen Hargreaves’ by United fans, Pearson has forged a career away from Manchester. The tenacious midfielder had a gleaming reputation in the youth ranks of the club, but never made the cut for the first team.

He departed in 2016 and quickly rose through the ranks of the EFL. After some successful years with Preston North End, Bournemouth signed Pearson in January 2021.

He finally got his stab at Premier League football this season too, making seven top flight appearances for Bournemouth before being sent out on loan to Stoke.

Pierluigi Gollini

The Italian goalkeeper won his first-ever major honour this year as he won the Serie A title with Napoli. The 28-year-old is on loan from Atalanta but is keen to stay at Napoli next season.

Saidy Janko

Voted as United’s Reserve Player of the Year in 2014, the full-back only made one senior appearance for United in the League Cup against MK Dons.

Since leaving Old Trafford, Janko has played for eight different clubs and most recently spent the season on loan with Bundesliga outfit VfL Bochum, on loan from Real Valladolid.

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