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*'Outstanding' youngster has already been guaranteed professional contract when he turns 17
*Teenager trained five times with United before being offered a deal last week
*He has joined United for nominal fee and will link up with Academy on February 1 before finishing studies
*Stabaek coach describes him as "complete footballer" who is "best player I have ever seen at his age"


Manchester United have agreed terms to sign an "outstanding" 15-year-old Norwegian midfielder who is a combination of Lionel Messi and Xavi, a club official has told UK.

Mats Moller Daehli told Norwegian Premier League club Stabaek on Monday that he will join United in the next few days for a nominal fee and link up with their academy on February 1.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team were so keen to sign a player rated as one of the best in his age-group in Europe that, in a rare move, he has already been guaranteed a professional contract by the Premier League giants when he turns 17.

United beat off competition from Bayern Munich, Ajax and a number of Premier League clubs to capture Daehli, who had five trials in Manchester before he was offered a deal last week.

“He has not signed yet but he gave Manchester United the answer a couple of days ago and gave our club the news today,” Stabaek reserve and academy team head coach Morten Tveit told UK on Monday night. “He goes into the Academy on 1 February. They wanted him as soon as possible but February was chosen because of his schooling. He will go back to Norway in May/June to finish his studies and return to United in July.

“He has in his contract that he will automatically get a professional contract when he is 17. That is unusual.”

Because Daehli has not yet turned professional, United will not pay a fee for the teenager but have agreed to pay Stabaek €10,000 (£8,626) a year for the entirety of the player’s career and may also contribute funds to the Norwegian club’s academy and that of his previous club, FC Lyn.

“We have done our best to keep him and give him the best project here. But it has been talked about for a long time and I’m not that surprised," Tveit added.

Teenage dream | Daehli is already guaranteed a professional contract when he turns 17

“We have done our best to keep him and give him the best project here. But it has been talked about for a long time and I’m not that surprised.

“We are just happy to send such a good player as Mats to the best club in England. Had it been Leeds [United] or Everton it would have been difficult. Man United is a professional, serious club. You have a lot of Norwegians there like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and we believe it is safe for him."

Tveit says he has no doubts that Daehli can be a major force, even at a club where competition for places is so intense.

“I think he is going to play for the first team and every coach at Man United thinks he will play for the first team,” said the experienced coach. “He is one of the best players in Europe in his age group. He is the best player I have ever seen at his age and I have seen a lot of international players at that age.

“He can play right side, left side, maybe off the main striker. He can be a little bit Messi, a little bit Xavi.

“He is outstanding and can be a complete football player. He has the mentality, the technique, his attitude is very good. He has everything. If he misses something, it is the physical side. He has to be stronger. But he is 15 and that will come.”

United have been tracking Daehli for two years and the teenager has trained with the club on five separate occasions over that period.

“A lot of other clubs have tried to get him,” explained Tveit. “Bayern Munich, Ajax and a number of Premier League clubs but he made up his mind a long time ago. You can’t go training with every club.”

Reserve team manager Solskjaer has been a key figure in enticing his countryman to Old Trafford, where he will link up with three other young Norwegians at the academy, Etzaz Hussain, Joshua King and Magnus Eikrem.

“I have seen the other Norwegian players over there and they will not make it at Man United, that is my opinion,” said Tveit. “Mats is different.”

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