Why Man United signing Thiago Almada wouldn’t make much sense

According to claims from Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Daily Express), Manchester United are weighing up a move for Argentine wonderkid Thiago Almada, who has been dubbed the new Lionel Messi. Almada, who currently plies his trade with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, has earned rave reviews for his development, scoring 4 goals in 22 league appearances so far this season.

As per the report, Almada has a release clause of £22million in his contract and is also being closely monitored by Arsenal, Valencia, Inter Milan and Ajax ahead of the January window.

Profile

A youth exponent of Velez Sarsfield, Thiago Almada made his first-team debut in the Argentine top-flight during the 2019 season. He has since evolved into one of the hottest up and coming prospects in South America. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has amassed a decent tally of 12 goals and 4 assists in 50 appearances across all competitions so far. 

Almada has also backed up his impressive rise in the domestic circuit in Argentina with some quality displays in the Copa Sudamericana, the Europa League equivalent in South America.

Thiago Almada (L) in action against Gimnasia (Getty Images)
Thiago Almada (L) in action against Gimnasia (Getty Images)

United already have an abundance of young talent

Make no mistake, Thiago Almada certainly looks like a massive talent at this stage of his career and already boasts an impressive profile for a player aged just 19. That he has been tracked by so many top clubs across Europe and even earned comparisons with Messi clearly substantiates the hype surrounding his status as a generational talent in Argentina. 

To that end, however, United shouldn’t be too tempted to secure a deal for the wonderkid in January or next summer. The Red Devils signed two highly-rated teenage wingers, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, and spending money on another player in a similar mould like Alamada would make little sense.

Pellistri is yet to make his first-team breakthrough at United while Diallo is set to complete his move to Old Trafford in January. United would be better off focussing on the development of those two players rather than investing in the 19-year-old Argentine attacker. 

Thiago Almada has excelled for Velez Sarsfield in the last two seasons (Getty Images)
Thiago Almada has excelled for Velez Sarsfield in the last two seasons (Getty Images)

Conversely, if they are genuinely interested in improving their wide options at the senior level, then United might as well look for some readymade options in the market. Marcus Rashford, Daniel James, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial have all been used by Solskjaer on the flanks to varying degrees of success.

While there is certainly scope for improvement in that department, Almada is hardly the finished article capable of turning into an immediate game-changer. 

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Verdict

It is clear from the above discussion that Man United should look at more readymade first-team options in January instead of going for unproven youngsters. Thiago Almada is certainly one for the future but doesn’t have the kind of profile required to have an immediate transformative impact on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

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