Home » Italian wonderkid Simone Pafundi set for move to Ineos-owned club

Italian wonderkid Simone Pafundi set for move to Ineos-owned club

by Colm Murphy

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Inoes-owned FC Lausanne-Sport have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Italian wonderkid Simone Pafundi, accoring to Gianluca Di Marzio.

The move sparks a particular interest from a Manchester United perspective following Ineos’ investment into the Manchester club and the connection it could create with their other football clubs, OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport.

At just 17 years old, Pafundi has already been capped for Italy’s senior national team and made 11 appearances for Udinese.

Di Marzio has reported that Pafundi “will leave Udinese on loan with the right to buy” and the option “should be more than 10 million euros.”

A pricey sum for Lausanne-Sport, a €10m transfer fee would be four times their record purchase, and almost double that of the Swiss Super League’s record transfer.

The high fee suggests the move could be with an eye on a future at United and the type of deal United fans may come to expect to see.

Operating in a similar fashion to the Red Bull clubs or the City Group, the connection between United and Ineos’ other clubs could open a whole new market of players for United.

While 17-year-old Pafundi would not normally command a role in United’s current squad, such a connection to Lausanne-Sport could allow United to tap into a market they would typically miss out on.

Seen just last season, keeper Zion Suzuki explained that he turned down interest from United in favour of securing first team football.

But such a roadblock could now potentially be demolished with Ineos taking control of United’s football operations. Guaranteed opportunities for young players at Lausanne-Sport and Nice could see a pipeline of development for major talents which replicates the highly successful Red Bull model.

Another positive of the Ineos group of football clubs is it will allow United to avoid transfer restrictions caused due to Brexit.

Since Brexit, UK clubs can no longer sign non-UK players under the age of 18. This would mean a direct signing of Pafundi would not be allowed by FIFA and why United trialist Lucas Bergvall is close to a move to Barcelona, while United are hamstrung by the regulations.

An ability to tap back into the European youth market through Ineos’ sister clubs could see United no longer missing out on breakout talents that leaves fans so frustrated.

There is no guarantee Pafundi will ever play for United, but with such a high transfer fee it is almost certain that he is the first of many young talents that Ineos have earmarked to push upwards through their group of clubs.

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