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Manchester United Transfer News: Tom Lawrence Set to Ink New Long-Term Deal

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Tom Lawrence of Manchester United celebrates his goal during the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on May 14, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2014

Tom Lawrence is ready to commit his future to Manchester United and will sign a "new long-term" contract with the club, according to Sky Sports.

The 20-year-old is said to have attracted the interest of "more than a dozen clubs from the Premier League and Championship" during a season which saw his Red Devils debut arrive, per Sky Sports:

Welsh clubs Swansea and Cardiff tried to sign Lawrence back in January and their interest is known to remain, while the likes of Southampton, Newcastle, Sunderland, Leicester, Burnley, Stoke, Blackburn and Norwich have also showed an interest.

But Lawrence looks to have pledged his future to the Red Devils, with the hope of making the breakthrough under Louis van Gaal in the coming season.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Lawrence is certainly the type of player new boss Louis van Gaal can confidently bring through. The versatile forward—who is useful on either flank or in a striker's role—impressed through the club's development ranks and during a loan spell with Yeovil before interim-manager Ryan Giggs handed him his full debut during last season's final clash against Hull.   

United won that match 3-1, with Lawrence and fellow youngster James Wilson starring in front of the Old Trafford crowd. Wilson notched two goals versus the Tigers, but Lawrence's ability also came to the fore during his link-up with the highly regarded striker.

Lawrence is a strong dribbler and always looks to commit the opposition into making a tackle. His direct style saw him complete an average of 1.9 dribbles per appearance during his 19-game time with Yeovil, per WhoScored.com. He also enjoys taking shots from across the pitch and averaged 2.4 attempts in this spell.

Jon Super/Associated Press

He produced two goals and two assists in a useful Championship experience. Although this isn't prolific, these numbers should be expected of a developing youngster. Lawrence needs to improve his distribution and will want to tighten up his 71.7 percent pass accuracy from last season, per WhoScored.com.

Van Gaal has the ability to massively improve Lawrence's game. He is always willing to give youth an opportunity to shine—as highlighted by his decision to bring Thomas Mueller into the Bayern Munich setup, and indeed, utilise Memphis Depay at the recent World Cup—so Lawrence stands a real chance of making a greater impact.

As noted by Graham Hunter of Sky Sports, Van Gaal may be behind Lawrence's extension:

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Tom Lawrence of Manchester United celebrates his goal during the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on May 14, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

There's no doubt he will need to work hard to impress the former Netherlands boss, but Lawrence has already shown enough tenacity at senior level to become an important player. He could eventually be used in Van Gaal's staple 4-3-3 formation, but will need to show the characteristics that match the new manager's "philosophy," as Van Gaal described during Thursday's press conference, per Jonathan Smith of the Manchester Evening News:

"I have a strong philosophy," said Van Gaal. "Every year I've trained, it confirms this philosophy. Sir Alex also had a strong philosophy."

It is up to Lawrence to fit into these plans. Van Gaal is the type of manager who ensures all of his players work doggedly, so the player's development will be interesting to witness. Lawrence has the natural ability to excel, and if given the chance, can become an exciting addition to United's first-team squad.

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