Having seen rumoured summer transfer target, Facundo Pellistri, join Manchester United, Newcastle may get a first-hand look at the winger in the Premier League on Saturday night.
The Daily Mail claimed back in May that both Manchester City and Newcastle were hot on the trail of the 18-year-old, with his break-out performances for Uruguay side Penarol seeing him emerge on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
The report added that Steve Bruce’s side had received glowing reports about the wide-man, and that whilst they were keen on bringing him to the Premier League straight away, the delay over the takeover – which of course didn’t happen ultimately – meant that their pitch to Pellistri’s family and representatives were put on hold.
In the end, it was City’s local rivals United who swooped in at the last moment, sealing a £10m deal on deadline day.
As is now the case, no young talent in football ever really escapes the spotlight, with scouts from the top clubs stationed everywhere. The fact that Pellistri was on the Magpies’ radar, and that they seemed to have a pitch ready for his representatives too, makes it even more galling that they eventually missed out on his signature.
Former United striker Diego Forlan, who was the youngster’s former manager at Penarol, said: “Pellistri has huge potential. There is still a lot to work on. He is growing and he makes a difference. We know it will be difficult to keep him for a long time. He has great pace and that is hard to handle.”
And speaking ahead of the clash against Newcastle, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Pellistri has already impressed him. He said: “Facundo he’s been in training with us for two days. Very exciting, young, enthusiastic player with some attributes that we don’t have.”
If Solskjaer decides to unleash him at St James’ Park on Saturday night, then Bruce may well be watching through gritted teeth.