Who is reported Manchester United target Ricardo Pepi?
With Manchester United spending heavily in the summer on Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, it is unclear what the club’s transfer budget will be for January.
Transfer links are hard to pin down at this early stage and even tougher to gauge their reliability.
One interesting player the club have been regularly linked with over the past fortnight is young talent Ricardo Pepi, with The Mirror reporting United’s interest.
Here is a look at what we know about Pepi and what he could bring to United…
1) Ricardo Pepi plays for MLS side FC Dallas and is already a regular for them at 18. He has scored 13 goals in 30 appearances this season.
2) The striker signed a new contract with FC Dallas in July which runs until 2026.
3) He made his MLS debut in 2019 when he was aged just 16.
4) Pepi is the youngest player in MLS history to score a hat-trick, doing so against LA Galaxy earlier this season.
5) He was eligible to play international football for both USA and Mexico. Pepi chose USA and has scored three goals in his opening four appearances.
What they say…
Former USA international Landon Donovan told the Lebatard and Friends Podcast: “He’s competitive. Forget about the goalscoring. He’s competitive. He works hard. He really grinds when he plays. And then when he gets a chance in the box, he’s absolutely lethal.”
US head coach Gregg Berhalter told 90Min: “What I really like is that he has this instinct, and it’s really hard to teach that to players.”
Should United do a deal?
The Mirror report FC Dallas would be open to doing a deal to sell Pepi for around £10 million.
This is a solid investment in a bright young player, already an international. Consider that United paid £8 million for a 16-year-old Hannibal Mejbri.
There is interest in Pepi from several clubs, with The Mirror reporting Liverpool, Manchester City, Brentford and Brighton are also keen.
90Min report several Bundesliga clubs are interested as well as Ajax.
So if United really are keen, it would be prudent to act as quickly as possible in January to secure a deal, or miss out altogether.
Upon signing, Pepi would not be ready to compete for United’s star-studded starting line-up straight away.
A loan deal would be sensible, possible for up to 18 months to take him to summer 2023, so he can play regular football to keep his development.
United need options up front with Edinson Cavani set to leave at the end of the season. Pepi could possibly be part of a long-term solution.
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