The new recruitment rules, introduced as a result of Brexit, are putting English teams at a limitation... or so the argument goes. There seems to be a lot of crying, whining, and hand-wringing going on right now. The youth managers at United, like their equivalents around the world, are furious. For what the Brexit rules brought in, the section should understand the sentiment in principle and at first glance. There will be no international signings underneath the age of 18. Any person higher than that will be subject to a points-based system to be admitted to the nation. Furthermore, only three foreigners under the age of 21 will be allowed to sign in the January market, out of a total of six. And there's a lot of red tapes. There are tons of it. Possibilities have gone - at least for every talented player somewhere in the world, but the current scheme will almost certainly be overseen by a new squad of bureaucrats. How fantastic.
Just not in the case of United. For the long-term development of their team. It's not as bad as it seems on the surface. It's a long way off. We've discussed it before, and they will prove it again. The development of the club's academy system has been based almost entirely on talent discovered in the United Kingdom.
A random day’s starting 11 for United will boast no less than six academy graduates:
Dean Henderson in goal, Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams at the back, skipper for the day McTominay in midfield, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood leading the line. Now, these are just the players who play every week, on and off. They were all sourced from within the community. They've all progressed through the United system, from juniors and youth teams to U23s. And they're all British. This isn't a fluke. This has been the rule for Manchester United and their foundation forever and a day.
With the anticipation of the rules to be in place, Marc Jurado, Alejandro Garnacho, Alvaro Fernandez and others were signed from different academies. United didn't just look abroad; Charlie McNeill has lured away from Manchester City, while Joe Hugill and Logan Pye were persuaded to abandon a Sunderland academy that had been destroyed.
That's not to suggest the newcomers from other countries are bad. Indeed, of all the summer signings - including Facundo Pellistri, a first-teamer of Penarol - Fernandez has been the one who has stood out for United coaches so far this season. But at 17 and a foreigner on United's academy books, it's a long way to the first team for Fernandez and his ilk.
Looking inside, the likes of Arnau Puigmal and Timothy Fosu Mensah have been taking strides in their development as well.
Opportunity? Circumstance? Whatever it is, things within United's academy pathway aren't working for their foreign talent. And even if it's just a matter of going with your strengths, if United are being forced to look further and deeper at a local level for talent, the odds are it's going to be good for the club.
But, for the time being, United shouldn't have to worry about distress points. The irony is that, as strong as the scouting is, and as qualified as the instructors inside the academy system is, United hasn't been a good venue for international youth team players.