Manchester United still tracking record breaking Russian wonderkid Sergey Pinyaev

Manchester United are still claimed to be keeping track of Russian wonderkid Sergey Pinyaev, despite political uncertainty a hazard to a future move.

Pinyaev is a player who underwent a trial with Manchester United’s academy back in 2019, when he was just 15. But even before Brexit restrictions came in, as he was a non-EU player, United could not sign him. Only when he turns 18, which is gradually getting closer.

Manchester United tracking Russian wonderkid Sergey Pinyaev

Manchester United are still tracking Sergey Pinyaev, who is now 17 and playing in Russia’s top flight for KS Samara, having left second tier Chernatovo Moscow behind.

A feature on Russian website Metaratings quotes Nikolai Larin, ex-director of the Chertanovo Academy. He said that a Manchester United scout checked in on Pinyaev just last month.

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Larin still tracks his progress, and said: “The last contact with Manchester United was at the match between Khimki and Krylya Sovetov (KS Samara) in April, there was a Manchester United scout. He comes to watch all the players, but he also looked at Sergey. He, however, had a slight injury, he did not play this match very well.”

Pinyaev is making the transition from wonderkid to first team star, and has been racking up first team appearances since making his professional debut at just 15.

He has made 27 top flight appearances this season, in addition to the 30 he made for Chernatovo Moscow last season.

Pinyaev is a record breaker

Pinyaev became the youngest scorer in Russia’s second tier, at just 15-years-old. At 16, he became the youngest player to provide an assist in Russia’s top flight.

At 17, he became the youngest scorer since 2009 in Russia’s top flight. He is on track, having long been marked out for future success – he made his Russia under-16 debut at just 13.

Pinyaev is currently a Russia under-19 international, with two goals in nine games.

While the numbers of two goals in 27 games in his league campaign don’t look eye-poppingly good, the young winger’s game time has frequently been as a late substitute.

He is averaging a goal every 171 minutes of action, and he has a further two goals in the Russian Cup, where he is averaging a goal every 73 minutes.

Pinyaev also has an assist against league leaders Zenit, in a match where he just had 10 minutes as a substitute, and scored one of his goals against second placed Dynamo Moscow, just a fortnight ago. He is steadily making an impact against top level teams in his country, and will wish United’s scout was watching that one.

United in it for the long game

United have been eyeing Pinyaev for a few years. We reported on the club’s long-term interest in the young prospect back in 2020.

This November, Pinyaev turns 18, meaning in January 2023, Manchester United can finally actually sign him, should they wish to.

So it makes sense for United to send a scout to keep tabs on his progress, to make a potential decision to follow up on interest next year, when the time comes.

Whether United would actually deal with a Russian club, in this political climate, is unlikely. The club cancelled a sponsorship deal with Russian airline Aeroflot.

Nikolai Larin told Metaratings, of the current restrictions against his country: “He is 17 years old. Life is such a thing – it is not known how everything will turn out. I wouldn’t guess, I didn’t put [the] barriers.”

By January 2023, nobody knows what the situation will be like, or 2024, or 2025, by which time Pinyaev may be ready for Manchester United, or like many wonderkids, he could have fallen by the wayside, not living up to his potential.

Right now he is on track, he has a chance of a good career, whether it turns out to be United’s level or not. The Red Devils are keeping the door open, just in case.

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