Manchester United are ready to activate a release clause in the contract of River Plate midfielder Enzo Fernandez and pip Manchester City to his signature.
United are planning a squad overhaul in the summer with Erik ten Hag set to be in place. A host of big names such as Harry Kane and Declan Rice are said to be targets. But so too is Fernandez, who has been on the radar of City for some time.
The 21-year-old central midfielder is catching the eye with his performances for River Plate. United and City scouts have been checking him out recently with a view to a potential swoop.
City leave door open
Indeed a report by TyC Sports says United will watch him again when River Plate play Fortaleza in the Copa Libertadores. The youngster is under contract until the end of 2025. However there is a £17m release clause in the deal and the report says United could meet it.
City recently denied they were ready to pay it and that could open the door for United to nip in.
Midfielders will be on the wanted list of Ten Hag if he takes charge as expected. The current Ajax boss thrives on developing young talent and Fernandez would fit the bill.
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The report says United see Fernandez as a star of the future and a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic. Paul Pogba also looks to be on the move this summer. The Frenchman is soon to be out of contract and a switch to PSG has been mooted.
Fernandez would not be expected to to fill his boots immediately, but United see the potential. And a fee of £17m could turn out to be a snip if he fulfills his potential.
The Argentine starlet has all the attributes to be a hit in the Premier League. His combative style and work ethic in the heart of midfield would fit the style and make him a fans favourite.
Manchester United lead the race
Fernandez can also chip in with goals and assists and makes him even more attractive to bidders. He has three of each in 10 games for River Plate this season.
The talk had suggested that Manchester City had been working on a deal for the last few months. But now United have entered the running the report says the Reds could be in the box seat.
United could have a clearer picture once they have watched him in action again on Thursday.