Manchester United were about to offload one of their attackers on deadline day of the January transfer window before Erik ten Hag told them not to, it has been claimed.
It was a fairly busy deadline day for Man Utd at the end of the January window. Most notably, Marcel Sabitzer arrived on loan from Bayern Munich to strengthen their midfield after an injury to Christian Eriksen.
There were also a few loan departures. Players like Di’Shon Bernard, Charlie McNeill, Axel Tuanzebe and Joe Hugill headed elsewhere to further their development.
But it has now emerged that one other deal was agreed for a rising star to spend the rest of the season out on loan, until Ten Hag prompted a late change of plan.
According to Football Insider, the Man Utd manager refused to sanction the proposed departure of Facundo Pellistri to Watford.
The report claims that Man Utd accepted an offer from Watford for Pellistri to spend the rest of the season in the Championship before returning to Old Trafford.
Pellistri had been linked with a loan exit throughout January, including to destinations such as Flamengo or Valencia. But Watford boss Slaven Bilic never made any secret of his interest in the winger.
On deadline day, Watford must have made a dramatic final attempt to take Pellistri for their promotion push. And it seems they managed to convince Man Utd officials – and the player himself – that it would be a worthwhile opportunity.
Yet Ten Hag had other ideas, after recently giving Pellistri – a 2020 signing from Penarol – his long-awaited Man Utd debut.
After marking it with an assist, the 21-year-old has earned two more appearances under Ten Hag. And it seems there will be more to come.
Pellistri hoping for more Man Utd gametime
According to the report, Ten Hag told Man Utd officials at a late stage in negotiations not to sanction Pellistri’s loan move. Instead, the manager now feels he can call upon the former Alaves loanee over the coming months.
Pellistri will now hope that Ten Hag preserves his stance and that he can reward his manager’s faith in the long term.
The South American still has to compete with Antony for a place on the right wing. Man Utd invested heavily to get the Brazilian to follow Ten Hag from Ajax in the summer. Consequently, he will still be getting the bulk of opportunities in Pellistri’s preferred position.
Pellistri will have to continue to show patience from here on in. In all honesty, he will probably play less than he would have done for Watford until the end of the season. But he will have to make the most of any opportunity that comes his way.
In the long term, if Ten Hag sees a future for him at Old Trafford, it might be the beneficial approach for Pellistri to learn exactly what his manager wants over the next half a season anyway.
Man Utd still have him under contract until 2025.
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