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Man Utd to bring in radical new academy plans after first-team's huge blunder; United chiefs are having to make costly plans to aid the youth team's progression after the first-team failed to make the top four.

Byline: mirror

Manchester United will PAY to fly in high-quality opponents like Ajax andJuventusto play their Under-19 stars next season in an astonishing initiative after their Champions League blunder.

After a shocking run of form in the closing weeks of the campaign Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's senior stars failed to reach the Champions League for next season, instead finishing sixth to only guarantee Europa League participation.

That's meant United's youngsters can't compete in the prestige Uefa Youth League next season.

The competition is only open to the 32 teams who have qualified for the Champions League plus the domestic youth champions of the 32 nations likeLiverpoolwho won the FA Youth Cup Final againstManchester City.

It's believed the plan was the brainchild of Nicky Butt, the head of United's Youth Acadamy and former 1999 Treble-winning midfield star.

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It's understood Butt was concerned United's most talented Under 18 and 19 players with first team aspirations would be missing out on the vital experience of playing against other top youngsters from Europe's leading teams.

Worried at United losing more ground to traditional youth rivals like City, Liverpool andChelseaby not being part of the Uefa Youth League next season Butt presented his plan to Executive Vice-President Ed Woodward.

And it's believed Butt has been given a significant budget to pay top clubs to bring their young stars to Manchester to play games against teams that will be made up of Under 17,18 or 19 year old United stars.

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It's thought Juventus and Ajax have already been approached to play games against United - wither in Italy or Holland or Manchester.

And Butt is believed to have also been given assurances of an additional budget to "buy-in" teenage talent from abroad .

It's seen as a sign that United recognise they've considerably fallen behind local rivals with senior Acadamy officials at Carrington concerned for the future.

City's Acadamy set-up is seen as the benchmark standard - but United staff claim the budget for their own operation at Carrington is now less than half the money pumped in at The Etihad complex.

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It's that lack of investment, a dearth of young talent in the pipeline and a slick money-making operation that's earned City around [pounds sterling]100million from the sale of Acadamy stars in the last few season's that's prompted a shake-up behind the scenes at United as they look to catch up.

United haven't featured in an FA Youth Cup Final for eight years with Chelsea winning the trophy five years in a row before last season's win by Liverpool and City contesting four of the last five finals.

And there's more bad news for United with talented 18 year-old midfielder Angel Gomes looking set to leave this summer along with Callum Gribbin, 20, in an on-going shake-up at Acadamy and reserve level following the departure of Under-23 boss Ricky Sbragia last week as exclusively reported by MirrorFootball.

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Nicky Butt is concerned about the level of United's youth team opposition

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Man City's youth set up at the Etihad campus is seen as the gold standard
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Title Annotation:Sport,Football,News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 25, 2019
Words:554
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