A leading European scout has hailed Manchester United’s capture of 15-year-old Norwegian protege Mats Moller Daehli and expects the youngster to become a superstar.
Tor-Kristian Karlsen has described new Red Devil Daehli as the most naturally gifted player to hail from Norway since Steffen Iversen.
Speaking to Goal.com, Karlsen said: "He’s certainly been outstanding at youth level and excelled both at national and international level. He’s been excellent even when playing against kids two or three years his senior.
"He is a natural footballer. Everything he does on the pitch comes naturally to him, as if by instinct.
"In terms of overall potential, I’d say he’s probably the most naturally gifted player to emerge in Norway since Steffen Iversen, whose talent was regrettably hampered by injuries."
Manchester United fans - and English football supporters in general - will remember Iversen, who spent almost seven years at Spurs and a season with Wolves before returning to his native Norway where he still plays with Rosenborg.
Iversen is a Norwegian legend with 73 caps for his country and so the comparison within Norway is huge for the young teenager.
Karlsen has spent the last few years personally scouting Daehli, who plays for FC Lyn in the Norwegian Premier League. But despite attention from a host of top European clubs it seems he was destined for Old Trafford.
He said: "As far as I understand, at a certain point the family decided to politely pay little attention to approaches from other suitors and focus on Manchester United.
"So I didn’t encourage any of the clubs I work with to spend too much time on this case. They’d only be wasting their time.
"As far as I know, he’s been a frequent visitor to the Manchester United academy over the past year."
Once the terms of his switch have been agreed Daehli, who plays in midfield, will officially link up with the Manchester United academy on February 1 2011.
A small player of slight build, Karlsen is convinced Daehli has the qualities to become a regular in Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team.
He said: "Without a doubt, there’s nothing stopping him in terms of God-given talent.
"But let’s not forget that we’re talking about a young boy, he might be looking at making his first team debut in three years’ time at the very earliest.
"A lot can obviously happen between now and then but, when it comes to footballing brain, skill, range of passing, touch and movement – he’s got all the fundamentals to become a top-class footballer."
By Dave Peddie