Manchester United have an easy Facundo Pellistri decision to make – Dan Brown

The youngster only came on for the final few minutes against the Addicks, but still managed to record an assist for Marcus Rashford – who continued his fine goalscoring form. Given his lack of minutes in a red shirt since arriving from Penarol in 2020, the 21-year-old has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford in recent months.

His agent, Edgardo Lasalvia, has not been shy when it has come to talking about his client&aposs future with United, and prior to the World Cup, admitted that his departure was &aposimminent&apos. At the tournament in Qatar, Pellistri made three appearances for Uruguay – two more than he has made for the Reds in over two years.

Pellistri played 66 minutes in in the EFL Trophy victory over Barrow in October, and has been named on the first-team bench 14 times so far this term. For whatever reason, the young attacker appears yet to convince United boss Erik ten Hag, who has already demonstrated that he is willing to give young players opportunities to impress.

Alejandro Garnacho, for example, has made 15 appearances for United so far this term, and has registered two goals and five assists, including an important winner against Fulham in the Premier League prior to the World Cup break. Pellistri is three years older than Garnacho and has accumulated more senior appearances, but it is clear who is above who in the current pecking order.

In recent days, Championship side Watford have been linked with a loan move for Pellistri. Slaven Bilic is thought to be keen on the player, but he is not the only one. A number of sides are interested in taking the young Uruguayan on loan, but it remains to be seen if the Reds will allow him to depart, or whether the player even wants a temporary move.

Since joining United, Pellistri has had two loan spells in Spain with Alaves, where he made 35 appearances. However, it took him a while to actually feature for the Spanish outfit. While there is a general consensus that the attacker is a player who would benefit from another loan move, there have also been suggestions – mainly from his agent – that a permanent transfer could be a possibility.

However, it appears that the Reds are keen to keep Pellistri at Old Trafford for many years to come, and with the player under contract until 2025, it is Ten Hag and United who hold all of the cards. There is, however, a chance that the club could make the surprising decision to cut their losses and move the Uruguayan on.

It is unlikely that United do opt to sell Pellistri, but if they did, there would be a real danger of the decision coming back to haunt them in years to come. While Manchester City&aposs decision to sell Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 came under different circumstances – mainly because the player rejected a new deal – there would certainly be the potential for a similar scenario.

The German club paid just 8 million to sign Sancho, who excelled in Germany before eventually arriving at Old Trafford for 73m in the summer of 2021. The Englishman was 17 at the time, and just wanted to play first-team football. He was younger than Pellistri is now, but the situation is somewhat similar.

Although Sancho has somewhat struggled to reach the levels he showed in the Bundesliga, the fact that United were willing to pay more than 70m for him shows the danger of letting a player go when he has all of the qualities needed to thrive elsewhere. City haven&apost missed the attacker since his left six years ago, but his value went up and another club benefited from that.

Pellistri will be understandably frustrated with his lack of opportunities at United, but he needs to remain patient. His chance to shine will come under Ten Hag, and the Uruguayan must take it whenever it does. For the club, it is vital that they back the player and show that he is part of the future – if not, he could prove to be one that got away.


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