On Friday afternoon it appeared Manchester United had struck a deal out of nowhere to sign Serbian talent Filip Stevanovic.
Serbian newspaper Republika reported an agreement between United and Partizan Belgrade worth around £10 million.
Stevanovic then posted a cryptic Instagram post hinting at a move, while transfer insider Fabrizio Romano also suggested the deal was done, responding to a fan on social media.
All that was pending was an announcement from either United or Partizan Belgrade over the future of the 17-year-old winger.
Five days on, we are still waiting. United supporters are no closer to knowing whether we are indeed signing Stevanovic, or if this will ultimately turn out to be a false rumour and crossed wires.
What has happened since?
Stevanovic did not travel to Manchester, in fact he was in Partizan Belgrade’s side at the weekend.
The young winger started as Partizan won 2-0 against Radnik, although he was not among the goalscorers on this occasion.
Partizan vice president Vladimir Vuletic provided a brief update, when he told Serbian outlet Buta Sport: “Negotiations are ongoing.”
This typically sounds like United. It was too easy to assume we had just swooped in and agreed a price out of nowhere as it appeared on Friday.
United have a habit of stretching out negotiations longer than need be, and as soon as haggling over price starts, you begin to lose faith in the club getting it done.
There have been no major developments on this since United’s interest broke on Friday.
Partizan’s next game is on Saturday and we would expect at this point that Stevanovic will be involved.
It’s possible United have this tied up and are just waiting to announce it, but it is odd that they would delay it when fans are so desperate for a new signing.
This would not seemingly be a signing for next season, with Republika reporting Partizan wanted him to be loaned back. There is a chance that this is the hold-up in negotiations, with United wanting him right away.
Stevanovic is viewed as one of Serbia’s top young footballers, having made his debut for Partizan at 16.
He has made 43 first team appearances for the club now, including two appearances from the bench against United in the Europa League group stages.
Partizan head coach Savo Milosevic told Scouted Football’s Sacha Pisani at the start of the month: “He is a winger, but his ability to score goals is incredible. Shooting with his right foot is deadly from any position – inside the box or outside. If you let him turn and dribble or turn and shoot, he is going to kill you.
“In some things he is unique, but if I have to compare him to a famous player now, I would say Eden Hazard.”
This type of praise underlines why United are credited with interest and are keen to sign the young winger.
Whether United actually get it done has become a bit more questionable that it first appeared on Friday, but we of course hope this is just a formality, and the club are soon able to get the deal over the line.
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