Manchester United had been linked with Facundo Pellestri for a while. But it was still a surprise when the Uruguayan completed a £9million move on deadline day (BBC).
It is fair to say he was not the big-name winger many United fans were hoping for. Yet talk at his former club Penerol was of a youngster with more than a hint of Lionel Messi about him.
Pellestri’s confidence on the ball, and his focus on driving forward at every opportunity, should excite United fans. But when exactly will he be seen in action?
The 18-year-old was named on the bench for United’s opening Champions League clash this week. But, given the importance of the game, he was never likely to feature.
United fought to the death and earned a well-deserved 2-1 victory. And things are not going to get any easier with matches coming thick and fast.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot afford any more slip-ups after two defeats in his first four league games. While United’s European group is among the toughest out there.
Pellestri may get a few minutes late on if a league game is going United’s way. But he may need to prove himself in the U23s, at least in the short term.
There is no doubting Pellestri’s talent and United should benefit for years. But their strength in depth is considerably better than it was a few short weeks ago.
Now the likes of Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani could be on the bench. Even if the latter starts, that would see Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford rested while Dan James looks to be regaining form on the left.
Pellestri will understand the importance of patience and will take any chance that comes his way.
That could come as early as this week, with United’s U23s taking on Everton tonight. If not, then he may have to wait until the following game against Brighton on November 6.
If he plays to his full potential, it may give Solskjaer the confidence to throw him in at the deep end.
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