The international break gives us a chance to check in on the progress of exciting young talent Sergey Pinyaev, a top talent rumoured to be destined for Manchester United.
Russia Today reported last year how Pinyaev has already been over for trials with United with a view to a future move.
United cannot sign him until he turns 18, which was the case even before Brexit, as Russia was a non-EU country.
In the meantime, United wait, and Pinyaev has started to play first team regular football.
Pinyaev scored his first professional goal last year at the age of 15 for Chernatovo.
Chernatovo are a team in Russia’s second division, and Pinyaev became the league’s youngest ever scorer in the process.
Pinyaev has continued to play regular football over the past year for Chernatovo, who sit close to the relegation zone. He has 20 first team appearances so far.
He has been a bright spot, and was named in the league’s team of the week this past weekend.
Pinyaev provided two assists in a 2-2 draw and now has five assists for the season. He’s still only 16.
He has been playing more as a left winger for Chernatovo although long term it is expected his eventual position will be as a striker.
Pinyaev turns 18 in November 2022 and his contract at Chernatovo expires in the December.
This lines up perfectly for United to sign him on a free in the January, although it is likely Chernatovo would want to extend his contract in order to get a fee for his services.
The club are not opposed to the move, and appear to be encouraging it.
His sporting director Nikolai Larin said last year [Tribuna via Sport-Express]: “Man United are following him. After every game they ask for his highlights. We always take care of this. If he ends up at Man United I wouldn’t mind. On the contrary, I’m keen for it to happen.”
So far he is on track, playing regular first team football at a young age.
The danger from United’s perspective is that Chernatovo get impatient and need to cash in, selling to a bigger Russian club or another foreign team. All United can do for now, is wait.