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19th Dec 2016

Manchester United are thought to be on the hunt for a European feeder club

The club previously sent young players to Royal Antwerp in Belgium.

Tom Victor

After witnessing the success of their Premier League rivals in establishing ‘feeder clubs’, Manchester United are reportedly poised to get in on the act.

Chelsea have benefited from using Dutch top-flight side Vitesse Arnhem as a base for a number of younger players, but United may be interested in going one further than the Blues’ partnership and actually setting out to own a small club on the European mainland.

According to the Daily Record, candidates for the location of the proposed feeder club are Belgium, France, Portugal and The Netherlands.

United previously had a similar setup with Belgian club Royal Antwerp – where they sent youngsters such as Darron Gibson, Jonny Evans and John O’Shea.

All three went on to play for the Red Devils’ first team, as did fellow Antwerp alumni Fraizer Campbell, Luke Chadwick and Danny Simpson

Man Utd v Derby XO’Shea played 14 times for Royal Antwerp before his Premier League debut (photo credit: Stu Forster/ALLSPORT)

Nemanja Matić is perhaps the most high-profile current Chelsea player to have enjoyed a spell at Vitesse, playing 27 times in the Eredivisie before being sold to Benfica in 2011 and returning to Stamford Bridge three years later.

Current Blues Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Nathan are all currently on loan with the Dutch side, while Christian Atsu – currently on loan from Chelsea to Newcastle United – also spent a season with the club.

Other current and former Chelsea players to spend time on loan with Vitesse include Patrick van Aanholt and Josh McEachran, while midfielder – currently back at Stamford Bridge recovering from injury – began his career with the Arnhem club.

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