Manchester United and Manchester City are set for a January transfer window war over Rochdale’s £10million-rated teenage sensation Luke Matheson.
Matheson, who turned 17 this month, made United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sit up and take notice when he scored against the Red Devils in their Carabao Cup clash at Old Trafford last month.
Pep Guardiola is also believed to be a fan of the England under-18 defender – and now Rochdale are braced for January scramble for Matheson, with United and City heading a queue of Premier League clubs interested in signing him.
The right-back became Rochdale’s youngest ever player when he made his debut for his hometown club aged 15 years and 336 days in September 2018. He was named man of the match.
Bright spark Matheson is currently studying A-levels in history, sociology and psychology – and he had to ask teachers for permission for a day off from those studies so that he could play against United in last month’s Carabao Cup game.
After another teenager, Mason Greenwood, had given United the lead, Matheson smashed home a half-volley 14 minutes from time to force a penalty shootout, eventually won by the Red Devils.
Matheson said of playing at Old Trafford: “I’ve never played anywhere like it, with a crowd of that size before.
“So to start and score was just a dream come true. They call it the Theatre of Dreams for a reason and my dreams definitely came true.”
For Matheson – who has also been tracked by Chelsea in the past – that dream of playing at the biggest stadiums could become a day-to-day reality if he keeps impressing.
He would appear to be a good fit for either Manchester club.
United boss Solskjaer is intent on snapping talented young homegrown players as he bids to return the Red Devils to the top of the English game.
And as for City, they are currently in the midst of a defensive injury crisis and would no doubt be glad of some quality back-up coming through the ranks.