Manchester United must win race for Arsenal linked Patrick Roberts

Patrick Roberts of Fulham is set to play a key role next season, but should Manchester United make him a long term target?

England's World Cup squad was announced yesterday, with a sprinkling of players who can be part of the nation's future.

Aiming to join them in 2018 will be Fulham's highly rated youngster Patrick Roberts, an England under-17 international, an attacker who has already made his Premier League debut.

With Fulham relegated to the Championship, Roberts is likely to get a chance to play a key role for the club next season as Felix Magath seeks to reinvent the side.

Roberts was linked last month with a transfer to Arsenal, with The Telegraph reporting 'club scouts believe he can be just as good' as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Roberts is an attacker who can play wide right or in the centre behind a striker, and has six goals in 10 games for England under-17s. His style is very different to that of Walcott, but his progression at an early age is reminiscent.

The Telegraph reported a month ago that Manchester United were also interested, and Roberts would arguably be a better fit at United. 

With United looking to reinvent themselves, and potential coach Louis van Gaal renowned for his work with young players at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern, Roberts could find himself at exactly the right club.

Roberts has also been likened to Jack Wilshere for his rapid progression at Fulham into the first team, for he is only 17-years-old.

Arguably more important however to Roberts, is staying at Fulham next year where Felix Magath has already indicated that young players will be handed prominent roles next season.

Manchester United sent youngster Nick Powell on loan for the season to Wigan in the Championship this season and permitted Wilfried Zaha to stay at Palace an extra five months, so would be wise to try and strike a deal which enables him to stay at Fulham for the 2014/15 season.

Tipped as one of the best young talents in the entire country, Arsenal's interest is inevitable and wise.

Which is why if Manchester United are keen on rebuilding, it should not just be top class stars able to make an impact now they should be looking at, but they should look to strike a deal for a young player like Roberts, before his price tag one day sky rockets akin to Luke Shaw at Southampton.


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