Interest in January move for Man Utd attacker confirmed, as Ten Hag intervenes in second deal involving LaLiga giant

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during a training session at the Aon Training Complex, Greater Manchester Credit: Alamy
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during a training session at the Aon Training Complex, Greater Manchester Credit: Alamy

The manager of a Championship club has confirmed he’ll push to sign a Man Utd winger who recently put his name in lights, while Erik ten Hag has personally intervened in a move involving Atletico Madrid, per reports.

Facundo Pellistri made his long-awaited Manchester United debut on Tuesday night. The Uruguayan, 21, joined the Red Devils from Penarol back in 2020, though was made to wait over two years before being given the nod.

He spent time on loan in Spain with Alaves on two separate occasions. Pellistri was retained in United’s first-team squad this season, though was an unused substitute on no fewer than 13 successive occasions when named to the bench by Ten Hag.

His big moment finally came against Charlton Athletic in the League Cup and Pellistri grasped the chance with both hands.

He provided the assist for Marcus Rashford’s first goal and also made a vital defensive contribution inside his own area.

Ten Hag insisted Pellistri has a future at Old Trafford post-match, though talk of yet another loan exit did not abate.

Indeed, the Telegraph claimed Championship side Watford were sizing up a move. The Athletic stated Valencia had already tabled an offer.

A meeting to discuss Pellistri’s future has reportedly been pencilled in. The Athletic claimed on Wednesday it’ll take place this week, meaning we shouldn’t have long to wait before finding out its result.

In any case, Watford boss Slaven Bilic has now gone on record to declare his interest in signing Pellistri.

Bilic wants Pellistri, but winger aiming higher

When asked during a press conference on Friday if he wanted the United winger, Bilic replied (via the Mirror): “Yes.

“He is [of interest to Watford] but there is no point talking about players that are not our players.”

“But we are looking to strengthen [on the wings]. He fits [the profile they want], so hopefully we are going to do something there.”

A loan move would represent a fantastic coup for the Hornets who are fourth in the Championship and chasing promotion.

However, per the Athletic, Pellistri will take some convincing. Indeed, they reported he isn’t keen on dropping down a division if he’s farmed out once again.

Man Utd fend off Atletico interest

Elsewhere, a second potential Man Utd exit has reportedly been stopped dead in its tracks by Ten Hag.

That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who claimed Atletico Madrid had made an enquiry into signing Victor Lindelof near the beginning of the window.

Diego Simeone is seeking reinforcements at centre-half and Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu has hoovered up most of the headlines in that regard.

However, Sweden international Lindelof too had been targeted and the fact he rarely starts for Ten Hag had seemingly opened the door for Atletico.

However, Romano tweeted Atletico’s approach was quickly rebuffed by United, with Ten Hag determined to keep the 28-year-old.

While he’s arguably no higher than fourth choice (behind Varane, Martinez and Maguire) in the pecking order, Ten Hag’s refusal is a wise one.

United are still in both domestic cups and have a lengthy Europa League campaign on the horizon.

With the fixture list already more congested than ever due to the mid-season World Cup, injuries are expected to be a persistent headache for Premier League managers moving forwards, especially for those whose teams are in Europe.

Retaining the experienced Lindelof can only be considered a smart play, especially as United’s restricted budget means they’d be unable to sign a high class replacement anyway.

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