Soccer

Real Madrid and Barcelona ‘have transfer interest in Man Utd star Facundo Pellistri’

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Real Madrid and Barcelona both have transfer interest in Manchester United star Facundo Pellistri, according to reports in Spain. The 18-year-old is poised to join Deportivo Alaves on loan. And the Red Devils are hopeful that will enhance his development.

United spent the whole of the summer transfer window chasing Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, only giving up on the England international late in the day.

They then signed Pellistri from Uruguayan side Penarol, bringing the teenager to England as well as agreeing a fee for Atalanta’s Amad Diallo.

Pellistri has been impressing behind the scenes at Old Trafford, flourishing at youth level so far.

And he’s now set to join Alaves on loan until the end of the campaign, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopeful he’ll benefit from a temporary move away.

With Pellistri still an unknown quantity, it will be fascinating to see how that plays out.

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And Spanish newspaper Sport say Real Madrid and Barcelona are both admirers of the 18-year-old.

The report doesn’t go into how much the two La Liga giants like Pellistri, or whether they’re interested now or with an eye to the future.

But United will be wary of Pellistri being signed by either of the Spanish sides, having been raided by Real in the past.

Los Blancos have signed the likes of David Beckham, Gabriel Heinze, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy from the Red Devils over the past two decades.

And how Pellistri fares during his time away is something only time will tell.

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Solskjaer admitted he and the club viewed the signing of the Uruguayan as a substantial coup in December, saying: “Our scouts have followed Facundo for a long time and we believe that he will be a real talent for the long term.

“Whilst we understand it will take time for him to adapt to the English game, he is capable of having an impact with his pace and ability to beat his opponent.

“Facundo has the perfect platform at Manchester United to develop and he has all of the technical qualities and the right mentality required to become a top player here.

“We are all looking forward to working with him to fulfil his potential over the coming years.”

Pellistri himself talked up Solskjaer upon moving, saying: “To join a club with the history of Manchester United is a dream come true.

“I have learnt a lot at Penarol and I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me.

“To have the confidence of the manager is an amazing feeling and I know that working with him will be perfect for my development.

“I am coming into a squad full of great players who I will learn from every day.

“Everyone knows that Manchester United is a club that gives young players an opportunity and I am ready to work hard every day to earn those chances and prove myself in England.”

Meanwhile, United youth coach Neil Wood recently hailed Pellistri by saying: “He’s still settling in.

“He’s been training with us this week and it has probably helped him being out on the pitch because he’s got a better relationship with the players on the pitch and he understands their game more because he’s training more with them. That can only help him.

“I thought he showed an improvement again [against Southampton] with his performance and he probably could have had another goal after he hit the crossbar. He said it bobbled up, next time he scores it.

“He is progressing nicely but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him.

“He is working hard, trying to take in as much information as he can.”

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