United are currently linked with Belgian second division club Royal Antwerp, and they have commonly been used as a training ground for a number of young players progressing through the Red Devils’ Academy.
Since Danny Higginbotham first joined the club in 1998, Antwerp have played host to over 30 promising youngsters - many of whom have made the step up to Premier League level. Jonny Evans, John O’Shea, Ryan Shawcross and Darren Gibson are just some of the names who have progressed through the system and are currently turning out in the English top flight.
The second bonus to the deal with clubs in Belgium is the relaxed citizenship rules in the nation, with just a two-year stay enough to earn a Belgian passport. Whilst it would take five-years to be awarded citizenship in England, players can be signed, and then farmed out to Antwerp for two-years to claim a passport, thus becoming an EU-based player to circumvent work permit difficulties.
However, with Antwerp languishing in the Belgian second division, United are reportedly keen on agreeing a partnership with AA Gent, who currently ply their trade in the Jupiler Pro League.
As reported by HLN, the Red Devils are currently holding talks with Gent, with the partnership being utilised as a work permit get-around. The idea is to sign promising South American talents before loaning them to Gent, allowing them both first-team experience and the chance to claim EU citizenship after a two-year stay. United would also have first-option on any talents who progress through the Gent youth ranks - as they look for the new Adnan Januzaj in the country considered a hotbed of talent.