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Kobbie Mainoo is doing what Arsenal legend almost did at Man United 20 years ago



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Kobbie Mainoo is doing what Cesc Fabregas almost did at Manchester United over 20 years ago before he made his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

Kobbie Mainoo has been a sensation at Manchester United this season, bursting onto the scene as an 18-year-old and cementing himself as part of Erik ten Hag‘s first-choice XI.

Alongside Alejandro Garnacho and Willy Kambwala, Mainoo has been part of a crop of academy graduates who have made a poor season slightly less unbearable for United fans, giving them hope for the future.

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Mainoo’s rise to prominence has also seen him make his England debut. The youngster could be on the plane to Germany this summer as part of their EURO 2024 squad.

While the recent England links have seen him likened to Theo Walcott’s career start, there is actually a player who is better suited to comparison in Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas.

Fabregas almost joined United

Fabregas made his Premier League debut at the age of 16 after he signed for Arsenal in 2003 and scored his first goal for the club in December of that year, becoming their youngest-ever goalscorer in the process.

Although Fabregas did this for Arsenal, he recently revealed that he also had conversations with Manchester United before his move to North London.

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“I think there were some conversations with my parents, but Arsenal were the ones who went full-on,” Fabregas admitted.

“I think (Gerard) Pique after went to United, but they were more interested in him than me. At this stage, I think they were talking to three or four players at the academy at Barcelona, but it was always Arsenal for me.”

And 20 years on, Mainoo is now doing for United what Fabregas could have done had he made the move to Old Trafford instead.

Brilliant praise

Fabregas himself went on to speak about Mainoo, explaining that he thinks the new England international is already a brilliant player and can become even better with good recruitment.

“He’s not only the future, in my opinion, but he’s the present already,” Fabregas said of Mainoo. “He can make a real difference.

“He’s got a fantastic personality [it’s] like he’s been playing for a long time. To help him in the summer, they need to recruit players who can gain this quality on the pitch to make him more brilliant than what he is.

“With these talented players, the better quality they get around him, the better they get. So I am expecting a big summer transfer window for Manchester United… but next season, he needs to be a key player no matter what.”