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?
Jul 25, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT
Olmes Garcia’s second half double lifted RSL.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:25 PM EDT
Introduced to the media in Houston, Beasley said he’s move on from midfield.
Jul 24, 2014, 10:24 PM EDT
With Wenger interview, SI had to get Zelalem out of the way first.
Jul 24, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT
Reds’ owner does not want a repeat of last year’s weaknesses.
Jul 24, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
NBC Sports and Fathom Events are taking Premier League soccer to the big screen.
Jul 24, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
Balotelli, Honda, Muntari, and more from the Rossoneri’s N.Y. training.
Jul 24, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
Pinto will depart after failing to come to new terms with the federation.
Jul 24, 2014, 6:12 PM EDT
After appearing three times at Brazil 2014, Besic is set to add depth behind Gareth Barry and James McCarthy.
Jul 24, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Adu close to joining the 10th club in his 11-year career.
Jul 24, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT
After seeing time with the senior squad, 18-year-old prospect will be sidelined indefinitely.
Jul 24, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT
The Colombian striker takes a few hacks before AS Monaco’s friendly in Miami against Atletico National.
Jul 24, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
Limited to just 16 matches last year after his big transfer from Liverpool to West Ham, Carroll is battling another ailment this season.
Jul 24, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
The rags-to-riches defender steps away from the pitch, at least as a player, while reflecting on his career journey from North America to Europe and back.
Jul 24, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT
Herrera chats exclusively to PST: “If we are a humble team and we work hard, we will achieve our objectives and we will win trophies.”
Jul 24, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
His dad played for El Tri, but California-born Fernando Arce Jr says his U-20 bow with the States makes him an American player “forever”
Jul 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City all cruised, while Spurs had to find a late winner after coughing up a two-goal lead.
Jul 24, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
What about the Premier League? Bundesliga? Serie A?
Jul 24, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Goran Milanovic is hoping the former American prodigy chooses to revitalize his career with FK Jagodina in the Serbian top flight.
Jul 24, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
One of the best stories is United States men’s soccer history is about to move past the “playing career” chapter.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
How big of a deal is the Chelsea legend signing for New York City FC? It’s up there.
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