Manchester United have reportedly entered negotiations for Thiago Almada, who has been tipped to become the next Lionel Messi.
The 19-year-old burst onto the scene with Argentine club Velez Sarsfield to attract attention from a number of giant clubs across Europe.
Almada has scored four goals this season in the Primera Division and is able to operate as a midfield playmaker or winger.
He is being monitored by Manchester City as a potential replacement for outgoing star David Silva, while Arsenal are also interested.
Atletico Madrid are also keen on a move, according to Spanish outlet Fichajes, but United are in pole position to land the teenager after opening talks.
To fend off competition from their rivals, the Red Devils are likely to have to meet Almada’s £19million release clause, which expires this year.
Manchester City reportedly came close to agreeing a deal to take the Argentina U20 star to the Etihad Stadium last year but failed to agree a fee with Velez Sarsfield.
One of the youngster’s footballing icons is Carlos Tevez, who played for both Manchester clubs, while he emerged under former United defender Gabriel Heinze.
Heinze spent three years in charge at Velez Sarsfield and gave Almada his debut in 2018, citing his work rate as one of his key qualities.
“That kid really wants it,” Heinze said before Almada announced himself in the Argentinian top-flight. “The only thing that makes me hesitate, and I do a bit, is that he is 17.
“But the things he gives me here… When I arrive I stay calm, I say ‘well, he’s 17’. But then I say, ‘how can I not play him if he is so good?’”
Elsewhere, Real Madrid great Fernando Redondo claimed Almada is one of the players from the Argentinian league that could flourish in La Liga.
“There are players in the Argentine league like Thiago Almada, Cristian Pavon and Leonel Miranda who could make La Liga because they have the talent and temperament,” he told La Liga’s official website last year.
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