Manchester United could use the remaining week of the January transfer window to find a suitable loan club for teenage summer signing Facundo Pellistri. But the Uruguayan remains part of the long-term plans at Old Trafford so any loan move has to benefit his development.
Pellistri joined United for around £8m from Penarol on transfer deadline day in October and has been deliberately given plenty of time to settle and adapt to his new surroundings. That has meant that the youngster, who turned 19 in December, is still waiting for his first-team debut and has so far only played for the club’s Under-23 team.
Fans were hoping that Pellistri, having been on the bench a couple of times in the Champions League, might get on the pitch when United faced Watford in the FA Cup third round earlier this month. But a positive coronavirus test ahead of the game ruled him out of contention.
The Athletic notes there is already a feeling that the young winger has outgrown the Under-23 squad, even if he is not absolutely ready for a full-time first-team role.
It is said the club are therefore open to sending him out on loan, although any offers will be subject to serious ‘scrutiny’ to make sure a potential move will be of benefit. As such, there is a reluctance to consider the Championship as an option due to the physical nature of the league.
Instead, Celta Vigo and Lyon are named as possible destinations. Spain in particular may be attractive because there is no language barrier for the player, while Lyon are said to have been interested in Pellistri before he signed with United.
Pellistri was coached by former United cult hero Diego Forlan at Penarol, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer getting in touch with his ex-teammate for a first-hand reference.
“It seemed like an ideal club for him because they were going to give him the time [to settle]. Even though he could have arrived and played directly, he is a young boy, you can't rush him, because he has conditions to continue growing and improving,” Forlan told 90min last month.
"Little by little he will get his chance. The coach will see when is the best moment [to play him], because he arrived at a club that is managed that way and that is the beauty of it."