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Manchester United are enjoying a flying start to the new Premier League campaign under Jose Mourinho, who has guided his side to 2nd spot in the league table for the time being. This season, United have won 6 out of their 9 league games, with one sole loss, which was against Huddersfield last weekend.
In an eventful game with Benfica’s Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League around a week back, the Red Devils came back from 2-0 down to clinch a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Caixa Futebol Campus.
And according to reports, United want to sign young Benfica forward Umaro Embalo, who has been dubbed as ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’. Javier Ribalta, one of United’s chief scouts, along with head of development John Murtagh watched Embalo, who came as a substitute in Benfica Under-19s’ 2-2 draw with United.
With some top clubs keeping an eye on the young prodigy, here we bring you the lowdown on Umaro Embalo.
Born on 6 May 2001 in Bissau, Guinea, Embalo started his youth career with AD Oerias in 2014. After just a year with Oerias, he joined the Benfica youth academy as a 15-year-old kid. It was just last season when Embalo moved from Benfica U-15 to their U-17 team.
In the UEFA Youth League this season, the forward made a dream debut in September, scoring and assisting a goal in the 5-1 drubbing of CSKA Moscow.
Born in Guinea, Embalo was eligible to play for Guinea-Bissau but instead opted to play for the country of his club side. In 2015, he made his debut for Portugal U-16 side and scored 6 times in 12 games. The youngster is currently bagging goals for fun with the under-17 Portuguese national team, having scored 12 goals in a mere 15 appearances.
What Does He Offer?
Operating as a right winger, but also capable of playing up front, Embalo’s prolific goal-scoring nature at the international stage since 2016 has caught the eye of European heavyweights. A left-footed player, he is best suited to playing as a right-winger in a 4-3-3 formation.
At just 16-years of age, Embalo possesses superb technique and ball control. It’s his scorching pace and sudden acceleration that tends to leave opposition defences in shreds. He is a very good dribbler of the ball with an eye for goal and never hesitates to shoot whenever given free space.
Embalo is pacy, dynamic and loves to take on the defenders using his swift movement. Being ambipedal, he finds no problem in scoring and dribbling comfortably with both feet. The forward is a handful when it comes to counter-attacks; thanks to his burst of speed and acceleration. With 18 goals in 27 appearances for Portugal’s youth teams, Embalo is astonishingly a deadly finisher too.
A few things, however, need to be improved, including his decision making, body balance, temperament and crossing qualities.
What Does The Future Hold?
Benfica has a history of producing sublime talents and Embalo surely is one of the most exciting prospects to come from their youth academy. It is believed that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira turned down Real Madrid’s €8m offer in summer. Also, according to few reports, United’s £5m bid was also rejected during the summer transfer window.
If the 16-year-old wonder kid signs with United’s youth system, it will help him flourish and he will surely develop into a better forward. A move to United or Real will be a huge career step for the attacker.
Considering his potential, it will be better if Embalo decides to remain with his current employers for at least another year and show his consistency before moving to a bigger club. If at all United and Madrid try signing him next summer, the Portuguese gem is unlikely to come on cheap.