May 17, 2014, 8:10 PM EDT
He may not have been on Louis van Gaal’s wishlist, but Vanja Milinkovic is still on his way to Manchester United. After one more season with Serbian club FK Vojvodina, the 17-year-old U-level standout will move to England, with the goalkepeers’ club and the English titans having announced his transfer on Saturday.
The 6’7″ Serbian garnered after going unbeaten in six games during UEFA U-17 qualifying. Having signed his first professional deal in April, the son of a professional soccer-playing father, basketball-playing mother has agreed to an English move, though he’ll spend 2014-15 on loan at Vojvodina.
If Milinkovic goes on to play for United’s first team, he will follow in the footsteps of two fellow Serbians – departing captain Nemanja Vidic (300 appearances from 2006 to 2014) and winger Zoran Tosic (5 appearances from 2009 to 2010).
Milinkovic, who turned 17 on 20 February, made six appearances for Serbia in the qualifying phase for the UEFA Under-17 Championship, keeping three clean sheets. His country marginally missed out on a place in the finals tournament currently being held in Malta, after finishing above Republic of Ireland and Georgia but behind Germany on goal difference in an elite-round group.
It’s going to be a while before we know if Milinkovic’s influence is more Vidic’s or Tosic’s. Manchester United already has a fine first choice keeper: 23-year-old David de Gea. The club also has Anders Lindegaard and Ben Amos, though given his age (24), Amos seems unlikely to have an impact at a club where Lindegaard is the number two. If Milinkovic’s age wasn’t already a huge clue, United’s depth chart makes it clear: The team’s newest signing is unlikely to see action any time soon.
Where does Milinkovic fit in? Nowhere, right now. The 17-year-old won’t even be at the club for another year. Until then, it’s hard to know if he’s even any good, let alone whether (or when) he’ll impact the first team.
Best case scenario, the Red Devils have their Thibaut Courtois. Worst case scenario, United have gone out of its way to import a teenager who’ll never impact the senior squad. But that’s world soccer, isn’t it?
Oct 25, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Watch and enjoy, then follow the second half live on NBC and online via Live Extra.
Oct 25, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT
Neymar and Ronaldo stealing the show so far, as four on yellows for Barca. Live updates, here:
Oct 25, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT
Pellegrini magnanimous in defeat, but City could be eight points off top spot by the end of the weekend.
Oct 25, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
Reds thwarted by stubborn Tigers, as Balotelli fires a blank once again.
Oct 25, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
West Brom won the shots battle 17-8 and carried nearly 70 percent of the possession by the time all was said and done.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
It was 1-0 at half, and it was all the Saints would need.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
Arsenal make the most of awful errors from Sunderland.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
Eighth-place Swans will host the suddenly-struggling Foxes as both teams look to rebuild momentum after good starts to the season.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT
Follow El Clasico here with live updates, as Suarez starts with his four month ban over.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Watch the second half of every match live, right here.
Oct 25, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Watch this hilarious video, as Brand gives Big Sam a smooch.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT
Will Mario Balotelli score his first Premier League goal and get Liverpool going? Watch live, here.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT
Hammers win third-straight PL game, as City’s bad week gets worse.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
Can the Gunners top Sunderland? Watch live.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT
The Baggies are two points above the drop with 9 points, while Palace’s 8 points have them slightly less safe.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
Around this time last season, Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scored a goal in the wind against Southampton.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
Before the tournament, we asked whether they’d roar, and so far the US women have done so.
Oct 25, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT
Van Gaal: “He’s very special but he is very special for me because we’ve continued our relationship.”
Oct 25, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT
Just what is going wrong at the back for Liverpool? Brendan Rodgers has a theory…
Oct 25, 2014, 7:33 AM EDT
Can West Ham upset Man City? Watch live, here.
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