Manchester United skipped on a potential deal to sign Joao Felix this month, allowing him to sign with Chelsea instead.
With the loan fee costing £9 million plus wages, this was an expense ultimately not worth paying, not without an option to buy.
Felix is a talented player, just not what United need, when the club are crying out for a centre-forward, with Wout Weghorst set to join instead.
And in young talent Facundo Pellistri, Manchester United have a player who can potentially offer something similar to Felix – who last night was sent off on his Chelsea debut.
READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfers in, out, loan deals for January 2023
United’s own Joao Felix
Erik ten Hag handed Facundo Pellistri his debut on Tuesday night, and it was a memorable one. Even though he was given just five minutes, the young Uruguayan was at the top of his game.
He provided one assist for Marcus Rashford, saw another pass wasted by Scott McTominay. He even played a part in United’s final goal when his movement helped create space for Marcus Rashford’s run, which was picked out by Casemiro.
United’s plan for Pellistri remains uncertain. There is loan interest, and while Erik ten Hag insists he has ‘a future’, all options are on the table.
But from watching Pellistri in action for United, for Uruguay, in pre-season, and in his brief appearances in the under-21s, its also clear the young forward has something about him.
Pellistri is built like Joao Felix, with a diminutive frame, and even a similar haircut. That’s not where the similarities end. The Portuguese attacker is more of a winger than a striker, better leading a counter-attack from deep.
Similarly, the United youngster loves to run with the ball, can pick a pass, and can spark action in the final third. He has scored in successive pre-seasons, netting against Derby and Liverpool, each time as a substitute.
While obviously not as polished as Felix, Pellistri has the advantage of being more fearless in approach, not ground down by Diego Simeone’s negative approach like the new Chelsea loanee has been at Atletico.
It can fairly be argued that Anthony Elanga is the player who should be heading out on loan. He has had his chances this season and not really shown much. In just five minutes, Pellistri showed he is worth keeping around.
United are adding a centre-forward with Wout Weghorst; this was needed, and if Pellistri can make the step up, then Erik ten Hag will boost his squad with a Joao Felix-type attacker too.