On Dec. 1, Ecuadorian wonderkid Moises Caicedo proclaimed his admiration of Manchester United. 10 days before the January transfer window opens, his dream move looks to be edging ever closer to becoming reality.
Long have gone the days of United’s academy being filled with players that are surplus to future first-team requirements. Over the last few years, the club nailed down a plan for a total revamp and upped the ante on their youth recruitment.
Following the breakout of Mason Greenwood, the signing of Hannibal Mejbri for a fee that could end up rising to around £9 million, should the French midfielder fulfill his enormous potential, signaled a start of a changing of ways within United’s youth set up.
This past summer, United penned deals with two more promising teenagers in Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo. Both wingers were announced as significant first-team signings with a view on the long-term future and now, with Diallo set to join up with Pellistri in January, it looks like Caicedo may be on his way in too.
As reported by Ecuadorian paper Diario Extra, via SportWitness, “everything indicates” that Caicedo is soon to be United bound with the talks between the club and Independiente del Valle said to be at an “advanced stage.”
The rumored fee for the adventurous midfielder who models his style of play after Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante is around €4.9 million (£4.4m) and United are said to be ahead of the likes of RB Leipzig and AC Milan in the race for the teenagers signature.
In addition, the Independiente del Valle general manager, Santiago Morales, has also been addressing the media about the future’s of the 19-year-old and other players at the club — explaining that he does not expect Caicedo to still be playing his football in the Ecuadorian Serie A after the turn of the calendar.
“There is a lot of interest from European teams,” Morales told El Comercio (via AS), as reported by SportWitness. “We’re in conversation with a team, surely we will not have him for 2021. For other players, we haven’t had any offers.”
With the acquisitions of Pellistri and Caicedo, United would have on their hands two of the most exciting young South American talents — a market that the club looks keen to tap into moving forward.
Pellistri has been making solid progress getting minutes under his belt with United’s U23’s, while Caicedo has already become one of the most important players in the Ecuador’s senior national team set up while playing locally. Caicedo would only be the second Ecuadorian to sign for the club.
In a United midfield that could soon lose Pogba and has an aging Nemanja Matic on the books, signing a player with Caicedo’s skillset and potential looks like a low risk and extremely high reward move for the Reds, should the deal get completed.