Roony Bardghji - Man Utd's teenage tormentor and Chelsea's latest transfer target

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The Swedish teenager just scored the winner against Manchester United in the Champions League and is now being linked with Chelsea - so just how good is Roony Bardghji?

There was something special about Manchester United's latest humbling defeat in the Champions League - the player who scored the final, decisive goal. Roony Bardghji, who turns 18 next week, isn't just one of the brightest talents in Scandinavia, but in the world. And now reports suggest that he's become a target for a Premier League transfer, with Chelsea apparently "crazy" about the nifty little winger. It's unlikely that they're alone in their admiration for an extraordinary young player.

Born in Kuwait to Syrian parents, Bardghji's family moved to Sweden when he was a little boy, and he got his early footballing education in Malmö's academy, among others, before moving to Denmark to sign with FC København in 2020. His progress since then has been rapid - he made his debut just six days after his 16th birthday, becoming the youngest player in the club's history, and has not looked back. Just to get it out of the way we will, however, note that there is no apparent reason to believe that he was named after Wayne Rooney, whatever you might see on social media. Let's give his parents credit for their spelling skills, for starters. If you want some fun, you can appreciate the fact that he bears a certain resemblance to Michael Cera.

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Since breaking into København's starting line-up, the comparison he has drawn most often is to Lionel Messi. Usually, that indicates either a lack of imagination in the people remarking on the resemblance, or simply an excess of hype - but in this case, the similarities to the greatest player of all time aren't entirely spurious, and extend beyond Bardghji's quick feet, close ball control and relatively slight and short frame (he is variously listed online as standing either 5'7" or 5'9" tall, with the former seeming more likely). Bardghji is a very special talent.

As United fans will now be able to attest, his skill with the ball at his feet is astonishing. He has a blisteringly quick change of pace and can shift gears incredibly quickly while the ball appears to stick to his feet as if it's glued there. He's predominantly left-footed but is strong on his right and his dribbles do bear a marked resemblance to Messi's - the same turn of speed, the same quick shifts from one foot to the other, the same low centre of gravity and the same elegance and grace.

And he doesn't just look the part - he has an impressive success rate with his runs and has the knack of finding and exploiting space both on and off the ball. Nominally an inverted winger who cuts in from the right, he likes to drift across into the middle looking for room and has the knack of beating a marker to generate his own. He knows what to do once he finds that space too, as United fans know all too well at this point.

That winner in Copenhagen was his first in the Champions League but already his 11th of the season all told, with seven of his strikes coming in the Superligaen. That number of goals in 24 games is impressive enough in its own right for a young winger, but it looks even more impressive when you consider that København have preferred to limit his minutes - even now he has only played the full 90 for his club side four times, and his scoring rate this season is a goal every 115 minutes. Most senior strikers would be proud of that - for a 17-year-old wideman, it's extraordinary.

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And many of those goals have been of remarkable quality, as well - from cool close-range finishes while bearing down on the goalkeeper to precise long-range screamers. He hardly ever seems to hit anything other than the top corner from range, and his composure when under pressure is hugely impressive. Neither big moments nor big defenders trying to knock him out of his stride seem to faze him.

So basically, the kid is special. He's a goalscorer who can create chances out of nothing and do it all by himself when called upon. He's young and has plenty to learn, of course, but has shone on every stage he's been placed on so far. A big move will inevitably happen sooner or later - and Chelsea could well be one of the clubs that come calling.

Chelsea have reportedly been monitoring Bardghji's progress since he made his debut in 2021, not that they will be alone in that. The youngster is under contract until 2025 the price tag being reported is almost laughably low for a player of his obvious quality - the Danish press have mentioned a few as low as €8.5m (£7.4m), which looks like an absolute steal for a player with the potential to reach the very top of the game.

And Bardghji doesn't seem like the kind of player who will settle for being anything less than second best - he's been reported in the past as saying that his ambition is "to be the best player in the world and play for Real Madrid," not that there is any solid reportage suggesting that Real are lining a bid up. But his star power is so evident that there is no chance that Mauricio Pochettino is the only manager making a sales pitch when Bardghji decides that the time is right to move on, especially at a fee which could look downright hilarious in a few years' time.

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Bardghji looks like a lot more than just another "(Insert Nationality Here) Messi" destined for obscurity down the line. He has the skills, the style, the confidence and the goalscoring record to back the hype up. Whether he ends up in London, Madrid, or anywhere else, this will be another Roony who won't need to worry about whether we remember the name.

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