Angel Gomes seems eager to make Manchester United rue their inability to meet his demands, having started the season explosively with Boavista.
After playing just six first-team games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, Gomes turned down repeated offers from the Old Trafford club and departed when his contract expired in the summer.
Instead, the England youth star signed for Lille, who immediately shipped him out to the Portuguese top flight.
"He’s a very intelligent players in his decision making, he’s technical, agile but he’s also got leadership abilities, being captain of England Under-20."Lille CEO Marc Ingla
“He represents one of the most promising players in the international game in his role,” Lille CEO Marc Ingla said. “He’s a very intelligent players in his decision making, he’s technical, agile but he’s also got leadership abilities, being captain of England Under-20. He’s still young but has immense talent and potential.”
Gomes, the son of former Portugal international Gil Gomes, is in the process of realising that potential.
Boavista may be struggling in the league, but the 20-year-old is flying. In four appearances, he has posted two goals and two assists. Indeed, some sources credit him with four assists, although on a couple of these there were faint touches from other players.
His performance in Monday’s stunning 3-0 win over Benfica was arguably his best yet.
On his return from injury, he spent his time bamboozling the defence of the league leaders. He won an 18th minute penalty with a smart piece of footwork in a tight area then converted it himself. Before the break, Gomes played a key role in Boavista’s second, setting up Alberth Elis with a deft pass that took a minor nick off a defender, thereby robbing him of the assist.
"He’s got magic in his feet."Paulo Futre
“He’s got magic in his feet,” former Portugal international Paulo Future told Record in October. Benfica learned that the hard way.
What is arguably most impressive about Gomes’ achievements is that he has played four different positions in his four outings. He began at centre-forward against Nacional, grabbing a couple of assists, before moving to No.10 against Porto and Moreirense. On Monday, he featured on the left wing.
Boavista’s first win of the season, which was inspired by the young Englishman, moved them out of the relegation zone and up to 14th.
Gomes has been their star performer by some distance thus far, involved in two-thirds of their goals, and had he been available for all six matches, his side would surely be better off.
In such form, he may be fast-tracked back to an elite club, with Lille seeing little more of him than a fine return on their small investment. Manchester United, meanwhile, will be left with nothing but regret.