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Manchester United eyeing Ajax’s ‘Talent of the Year’, Arsenal’s advantage explained



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According to a new report, Manchester United have sent their scouts to watch Ajax defender Jorrel Hato but face competition from Arsenal.

Hato, 18, has been touted by many as one of the next big things in football, with the teenager recently winning Ajax’s Marco van Basten award.

The award, which has previously been held by names such as current Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen, Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt and Liverpool‘s Ryan Gravenberch, to name just a few, is highly regarded within world football.

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Handed out by Ajax to the “Greatest talent from the Ajax youth academy,” Hato was the recipient this year, succeeding Kenneth Taylor.

Making 46 appearances this season, Hato has missed just one game for the Dutch side throughout this campaign. Hato also made 15 appearances in the 2022/23 season.

Now, after winning the award, HITC is reporting the United have been admirers of Hato for an extensive amount of time. Additionally, the report states that Erik ten Hag’s side have frequently had scouts watching Hato at Ajax games, including during their recent 3-0 win against Almere City.

Hato’s steady performances as both a left-back and left-sided centre-back across those 46 appearances have allowed the one-time capped Dutch international to become a target of United’s.

Hato signed a new deal with the Dutch giants just a couple of months back, with his new contract running until the summer of 2028. Despite this, after Ajax failed to secure European football, it is thought he may push for a summer move.

The reasoning behind Hato’s desire to leave Ajax presents a massive issue for United, who will also not have European football next season unless they can cause a massive upset in the FA Cup final by beating their rivals Manchester City.

According to the report, United’s inability to secure European football has allowed Premier League rivals Arsenal to step into pole position in their pursuit of Hato.

Finally, the report notes that Hato is one of several left-backs being looked at by United, with Nice’s Marvin Bard and Wolves’ Rayat Ait-Nouri amongst the other names being considered by the Red Devils.