Man Utd's next six Premier League fixtures
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Manchester United tabled a bid to bring youth prodigy Kendry Paez to Old Trafford earlier this year, according to reports. Real Madrid’s high-profile swoop for teenage sensation Endrick may have prompted other top clubs to scour the market for future stars before others get there first.
Ecuador impressed at the 2022 World Cup despite failing to make it through the group stages. A host of their squad members came through the ranks at Independiente del Valle, largely considered to be the country’s best academy, and Paez is arguably their hottest prospect.
Playing for the same youth teams that in-demand Brighton star Moises Caicedo did as a youngster, Paez is scoring at a rate of almost one goal per game this season and he is supposedly being given more involvement in the senior side at just 15 years old.
According to South American outlet Ole, United are among a host of clubs keeping an eye on him and they saw an offer rebuffed by the Ecuadorian side several months ago.
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Independiente del Valle are thought to be taking great care over Paez’s development and will only listen to offers when he is considered ready to fly the nest. More promising performances and a first-team debut could also allow them to command a higher transfer fee if United revisit their interest in the future.
Much like Endrick’s move to Real Madrid, Paez wouldn’t be allowed to join up with his new United team-mates until he turns 18. Endrick has already made a splash in senior football with Palmeiras, prompting Los Blancos to part with £62.6million ahead of his arrival in 2024.
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Paez is tipped for a bright future as the best player in Ecuador’s finest academy, and the left-footed attacking midfielder could yet turn more heads as he continues to develop both physically and as a footballer. Brighton snapped up Caicedo from Independiente del Valle in 2021 and he has quickly become one of the Premier League’s most coveted midfielders.
United are already juggling a collection of promising youngsters with Alejandro Garnacho the latest player to make his mark on Erik ten Hag’s first XI. The 18-year-old scored his first Premier League goal just before domestic action paused for the World Cup and he could be given more responsibility over the remainder of the campaign.
“He has a lot of talent and his work rate together with the talent makes a big difference with us from the bench,” said United star Bruno Fernandes last month. “It’s not the first time he makes a big impact for us. We are really happy for him and know he can give us goals, assists and prove the joy of football.
“I think everyone is seeing signs that [he can go all the way]. Not because of his goals and assists but the way he comes into the game. Nobody likes to be on the bench so the attitude he has when he comes off has been fantastic. He deserves the chances he’s been having and he’s got his rewards. That’s what football’s about.”
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