Fabrizio Romano hints at Man Utd deal that’ll spark first of two exits, with ‘concrete talks’ revealing true Ten Hag thoughts on frontman
Man Utd may hand an exit-linked forward a new deal before turfing him out next season in a move that’ll reveal Erik ten Hag’s true thoughts on the player, per Fabrizio Romano.
Ten Hag currently boasts an embarrassment of riches in his forward line. The Dutchman can call upon Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Wout Weghorst, Jadon Sancho, Alejandro Garnacho, Antony, Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri for the front three positions. Bruno Fernandes has also been deployed out wide for much of 2023.
Regardless, the Red Devils are on the hunt for a new centre-forward at season’s end and today’s Transfer Gossip revealed why the search is unlikely to land on Harry Kane. Instead, two Serie A hitmen are fast emerging as more gettable targets.
With so many options at his disposal, the Manchester Evening News recently claimed Ten Hag will sanction loan exits for Elanga and Pellistri next season.
Elanga has made 16 league appearances this year, though only five were starts. Pellistri, meanwhile, has featured six times from the bench since making his senior Man Utd debut on January 10 in the EFL Cup.
Elanga’s current contract is up in 2026, while Pellistri’s will expire in 2025. As such, if Pellistri were loaned out for the 2023/24 campaign, he’d only have 12 months remaining when the loan concludes.
READ MORE: Big Midweek: Real Madrid v Liverpool, Man City, Mikel Arteta, Casemiro
In that scenario, United would likely be eyeing up a permanent exit and would hope a successful loan spell would swell Pellistri’s price tag.
However, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, the opposite might be true. Indeed, Romano stated United are actually considering tying Pellistri down to a new deal before then sanctioning a loan.
The thinking there would be two-fold. Firstly, United would protect their investment and not be forced into making a final decision on a player at the end of next season.
Secondly, it suggests Ten Hag believes Pellistri may well have something to offer in the United first-team down the line.
EURO PAPER TALK: Liverpool want 6ft 4in monster as Fabinho upgrade as Klopp eyes second deal for ‘new Luka Modric’; Ten Hag wants free agent to join Man Utd
Ten Hag impressed with Pellistri
Pellistri has looked lively in each of his cameos off the bench this season. He grabbed an assist in his debut against Charlton Athletic and a mazy run against Real Betis led to Wout Weghorst’s goal in the 4-1 thumping of Real Betis last Thursday.
In the aftermath of that victory, Ten Hag pointed to Pellistri as a shining light behind the scenes.
“He is the example by deserving his position by performance on the training [ground],” said Ten Hag (via the Metro).
“And I said the other day, I did not select him for Liverpool and it was not even totally justified because he was training that well.
“Now this was his moment to come on because of a longer period he performed in training. What impressed me was he came on and, straight [away], showed himself.
“When they came on, Scott [McTominay] and Pelli, it was 3-1 but 4-1 is huge, to make the extra goal. In the first moment, they did, which was brilliant.”
Romano stressed no decision has been reached either way regarding Pellistri’s future or over a new deal. However, a contract extension that would then tee up a loan exit is being ‘considered’ ahead of ‘concrete talks’ between the club and player in April.
If Pellistri continues to impress Ten Hag, the sequence of events may well be: new deal, loan for 2023/24, increased role at Old Trafford from 2024/25 onwards.
READ MORE: Tottenham told appointment of hugely-respected manager is only thing to prevent Harry Kane joining Man Utd