Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a dilemma with new signing Facu Pellistri after promising him first team opportunities when he signed for the club.
The Red Devils signed the 18-year-old from Uruguayan side Penarol on deadline day and immediately included him in the first team squad, assigning him the number 28 shirt.
The winger was also included in United’s Champions League squad and was on the bench for the famous 2-1 victory against PSG on the 20th October.
However, three days later Pellistri was playing for the Under-23s in their 2-1 win over Everton with Solskjaer admitting ‘He’s a young boy coming over and it’s all new for him…He’ll need a few games in the Reserves, of course, to try to find his feet in a new country.’
Pellistri did not appear in the Under 23’s next match against Brighton.
United’s youngsters are in action in the EFL trophy on Monday against Morecambe but it is unclear whether the Uruguayan will take part.
The issue Solskjaer has is what to do next to bring the player up to first team level. A January loan move would probably be the most logical next step but it would mean Solskjaer breaking the promise he made to Pellistri when he signed him.
Remaining in the Under 23s with the odd substitute appearance in the first team would keep the promise to some extent, but with the normal rotation employed to make sure everyone at Under-23 level gets some game time, it will limit Pellistri considerably both in terms of that game time and the standard of football at which he is being asked to take part.
It also begs the question as to why United paid the substantial sum of €8.5 million for a teenager if he was not already good enough to join the senior squad.
January will also see the rival of another young pretender for the right wing spot, Amad Diallo from Atalanta. Also only 18 years of age, United invested even more on Diallo – €21 million. If Diallo is to be given chances in the senior squad, it will limit Pellistri’s opportunities even further.
It seems inevitable that the manager will be forced to break his promise and send the Uruguayan out on loan in January. This is not ideal for a young man who will have only just settled in Manchester three months prior to being moved again.
The situation suggests that there was a lack of forward thinking or any clear strategy and planning when the two right wingers were both bought on the same day to fill a void that should have been occupied by a more established star such as Jadon Sancho or Ousmane Dembele.
United have had some world class goalkeepers over the years and some entertaining ones too. Take our quiz below to find out how much you know about United’s number 1’s, past and present.