Manchester United’s January transfer window was verging on disaster before the late arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was preparing for a scenario where there was no new additions before the late flurry of business which could not have worked out much better for the United boss.
Fernandes has reinvigorated the mood around Old Trafford and provided the attacking midfield solution United have long craved for.
Meanwhile, few expected the impressive output of deadline day loan signing Ighalo as the club desperately scrambled around for a back-up forward in the closing hours.
However, it could have turned out much different for Solskjaer who had already considered promoting three untried youngsters to the first-team squad to bolster depth.
As noted in a report by the Manchester Evening News, academy stars Ethan Laird, Largie Ramazani, and Hannibal Mejbri were earmarked for possible spots in the first-team.
Laird, 18, and Ramazani, 19 have starred for Neil Wood’s Under-23 side and both played in the penultimate Europa League group stage game against Astana where Solskjaer well and truly blooded the youth.
Mejbri, meanwhile, was signed from Monaco last summer and is an all-action midfielder that is exciting plenty behind the scenes.
Right-back Laird is expected to progress through the ranks after the sale of Ashley Young in January, but his path to the first-team has been somewhat blocked by youngsters Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot.
Laird and Ramazani could both benefit from a season out on loan next term, which the MEN claim is already a given for talented midfield duo James Garner and Dylan Levitt.
Mejbri, meanwhile, has made five appearances for the Under-23 side this season at the age of just 17. We feel he still needs another season playing regularly under Neil Wood before he is ready but we can’t wait to see him develop in the years to come.
It’s fantastic that Solskjaer sees a pathway into the first-team for a number of United’s talented academy prospects, and the crucial part is finding the perfect mix with accomplished senior players in the first-team squad.