Manchester United’s Ángelo Henríquez looks set for superstardom

Club Universidad de Chile is a breeding ground for top-class players, with the likes of Marcelo Salas, Faustino Asprilla and countless others wearing the blue strip of La U.

Eduardo Vargas was the latest graduate of the famous Chilean club to move to Europe last year, with the prodigious talent swapping Santiago for Naples in a $17.9 million switch to Serie A giants Napoli.

The 23-year-old is currently on loan at Grêmio after struggling to adjust to life in Italy, but another star striker in the making that moved from Universidad de Chile to Europe is having no such problems.

Ángelo Henríquez caused quite the stir in 2011 after breaking into the Estadio Nacional side’s first-team, and followed this up last year with breathtaking performances for Chile under-20’s.

A fight broke out to sign the teenage sensation, with Manchester rivals United and City going head-to-head for the South American’s allegiances.

The Old Trafford outfit managed to win his hand, with Henríquez moving to England in a €5.5 million deal last August.

Due to his outstanding poise on the ball, skill, technique and turn of pace, natural comparisons to countryman Alexis Sánchez have been made. David Villa is another that the 19-year-old is being likened too – heavy praise indeed.

Despite all his evident qualities, the one thing that has caught the eye most is his predatory nature and as a result an exceptional goalscoring record in the early days of his career.

Barely 12 months in the Universidad first-team was enough to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to move for the sprightly attacker, with Henríquez netting 11 Primera Division goals in 17 appearances.

Ángelo HenríquezHowever, it was his potency at national age-grade levels that shot the striker into the limelight and had European scouts returning to their clubs with glowing reports.

After representing his country at under-15 and under-17 level, 2012 proved the making of Henríquez, with an unbelievable ability to score for Chile’s under-20 side.

Last year the teenager stepped out for the under-20 side on 17 occasions, scoring 21 goals in the process in an incredible showcase of just what he is capable of.

After being granted a work permit to play in England, the youngster went on loan to Wigan Athletic in January. The Latics were relegated, with the Chilean only getting four Premier League appearances – but he did get one goal against Sunderland in a 3-2 defeat.

With David Moyes in the hotseat following Ferguson’s retirement, Henríquez has been sent to Spain this seasonto get regular first-team football in a bid to aid his progression.

A number of suitors were in the mix to land the hitman on a temporary deal, however Segunda Division outfit Real Zaragoza won the race.

The striker has settled in at La Romareda instantly, and is gaining rave reviews in Spain. Unlike Vargas, Henríquez looks to have picked up the pace of the game in Europe and has shown no signs of letting his superlative scoring record slip in Aragon.

The 19-year-old displayed superb technique to rifle home a volley in Zaragoza’s 2-1 defeat to Numancia on Saturday, with the goal his fifth in nine appearances for the Spaniards.

Henríquez’s all-round game has been heavily praised, with the United loanee adjudged as one of the most talented players in the Spanish second tier.

The Old Trafford faithful will be hoping that Henriquez can stay fit and on form, with a sterling season in Spain on the cards for the South American.

If he does continue his excellent form for the bulk of the rest of the campaign, it will be interesting to see what lies in store for the striker upon his return to Old Trafford.

Adnan Januzaj has broken into the Premier League champions’ first-team this season, and there is no reason to suggest that Henríquez cannot be the next United sensation.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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