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Manchester United poised to reward teenage star Alejandro Garnacho with new deal

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the UEFA Europa League Group E match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Thursday October 27, 2022.© PA


Alejandro Garnacho is close to signing a new contract with Manchester United.

Garnacho’s existing contract runs until June 2025 – not the end of next season as widely suggested – but United are in advanced discussions with the 18-year-old Argentine winger over a new, improved deal.

There is optimism at Old Trafford that the situation will be resolved soon as they move to tie down the long-term future of one of their most exciting young talents, who came on as a substitute to set up Marcus Rashford for United’s winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City.

United have been keen to strike a balance between rewarding Garnacho for his fine form after breaking into the first team and avoiding a repeat of the situation the club faced with Adnan Januzaj. Januzaj was rewarded with a five-year contract in 2013 when David Moyes was manager, less than two months after forcing his way into the first team.

​But the Belgium winger’s star faded as he struggled to live up to expectations and was sold to Real Sociedad for £9 million five years later after spending much of his final two seasons at the club on loan at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland.

United feel there are valuable lessons to be learnt from the experience with Januzaj. They believe Garnacho has huge potential, but the club and manager Erik ten Hag have been wary about giving him too much too soon and are eager to pitch a new contract at an appropriate level that offers just the right incentive and maintains his hunger to improve.

Garnacho was punished on United’s pre-season tour for twice being late, but Ten Hag’s main focus has been about drilling into the teenager the discipline and focus required to become an elite player.

Asked how much improvement he had seen in Garnacho’s attitude and all-round performance, the manager said: “A lot. He has a skill that I don’t see many players in the Premier League having – he beats players one on one.

“But he’s learnt in the last months about how to play in a team, how to live, how to do the right things in the week, how to have the right attitude on the training ground and you see how he’s acting as a team player and with his individual skills that can make the difference.

“Also for him it’s to keep going in the process. It’s not done. There is a lot to come. There is a lot of room for improvement with him, but he can help, he can contribute on the highest level already and I’m really happy.

“It’s a bonus for us as a club that you bring in young players and they can come not only into the squad but the team, and I think that is a part of our project that has to contribute to our success.”

Garnacho’s emergence has seen Anthony Elanga drop down the pecking order and the Sweden forward could leave on loan this month. Everton are the only club to make a formal inquiry at this stage but Borussia Dortmund are also interested.

United must also decide whether to loan out another winger, Facundo Pellestri, who is attracting interest from Watford, Valencia and Bologna. United face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park tonight, when new loan signing Wout Weghorst, who will wear the No 27 shirt, is expected to be included in the squad.

Casemiro and Fred are running a disciplinary tightrope. A booking for either midfielder against Palace would see them suspended for Sunday’s clash at leaders Arsenal.

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