Liverpool and Manchester United Reportedly Scout 'Mini Messi' Ryan Gauld

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - MAY 13:  Ryan Gauld of Dundee United in action during the Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell FC and Dundee United FC held at Fir Park on May 13, 2012 in Motherwell, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

A story which appears to be gaining in momentum is that of Dundee United's Ryan Gauld, a player earning plaudits as the "Mini Messi" of Scottish football and who continues to draw attention from the Premier League's big guns.

Ed Malyon of the Mirror reports that both Manchester United and Liverpool are taking a look at the 17-year-old and had scouts on hand as Gauld assisted all four of his side's goals in the 4-1 win against Partick Thistle this weekend.

Those come on the back of a two-goal outing for the teenager against Motherwell a fortnight ago, where he was again a full influence in United's attack as they romped to a 4-0 victory.

Though just 17 years of age, Gauld has already appeared for Scotland's Under-21s, and Malyon's report claims that his club is demanding a fee of £6 million from any interested parties:

Aberdeen-born Gauld has attracted interest from Real Madrid thanks to his impressive attacking displays, and the Tannadice club are demanding £6million to part with one of Europe’s hottest young properties.

Newcastle and Everton were also thought to have sent scouts to the game.

Both United and Liverpool have relied on a heavy focus of wide talent in recent years and continue to do so, but one might argue that it's currently the Red Devils in greater need of a player with Gauld's skill set.

That's not to suggest the youngster would step into the senior squad of either side, however. In fact, it may require several years of academy progression and loan spells until the player is even ready for life in the English top flight.

That being said, the likes of Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young have all been in faltering form for United in recent seasons, and the uprising of 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj is evidence that age is not necessarily an inhibitor in these circumstances.

Gauld isn't the only bright talent to have emerged from Dundee United's ranks in recent years. Since 2010, David Goodwillie and Scott Allan are two of the more high-profile youngsters to have completed Premier League moves after playing with the club, to Blackburn Rovers and West Brom respectively.

If, as Malyon suggests, a club of Real Madrid's standing is indeed interested in Gauld's talents, it's a testament of just how far word has travelled following his first-team emergence in 2013/14.

The teenager has now started in nine of his 13 Scottish Premiership games this season, but has played the full 90 minutes on just two occasions, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.

Capable of playing from either side of midfield, Gauld certainly looks like a valuable commodity right now, with speculation bound to heat up in coming weeks regarding a winter move.

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