Diego Forlan has revealed he was consulted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before Manchester United’s deadline day switch for young winger Facundo Pellistri.
As per BBC Sport, United paid £9m to Penarol for Pellistri’s services and the youngster signed a five-year-contract at Old Trafford.
Pellistri, 18, is regarded as one of the most exciting South American prospects and United had been watching him for some time before making their move.
Former United striker Forlan was managing Pellistri’s club Penarol until September and knows just how talented the teenager is.
And he has revealed a lengthy conversation with Solskjaer in which he recommended his Uruguayan compatriot to the United boss.
“There was a lot of interest in the player and I could understand why. He’s very quick and goes past players easily. He was doing that even when it was not a good moment for the team. He likes receiving the ball in midfield and moving forward with it. Even though he was young, I put him in my team every week. He can play on the right but also the left. He’s two-footed like I was and he tries to dribble like Ryan Giggs.
“I told Ole he has a lot of potential, but he has to keep developing.
“I told Facundo many times: ‘There are not players like you in Uruguay, but if you go to Europe, which attracts the best in the world, there will be many others who are very fast – and stronger than you too. You have potential but it depends on you to improve.’
“Facundo is shy. He works hard, he trains hard, he’s professional. He speaks English and he went to a good private school. He has many attributes and I explained these to Ole.
“But fans have to be patient because he’s 18 years old and has much hard work ahead of him. He’s at the start of his career. He needs to understand that he has done nothing yet and that he’s not a star. He’s arriving at a big club and he’s done well to get to that point, but I’ve been there. It’s hard. You need dedication, lots of hard work and some luck too.
“I told Facundo that Manchester is a good place because they don’t hurry players. They don’t rush; they will wait for him to improve. It’s a good city to be a professional too, a football city where the fans are respectful and supportive.”
Of course, Pellistri is not a quick-fix for the problem right-wing position and is still very much one for the future at United.
Forlan appreciates the talents of the youngster but knows he is still in his development stages and shouldn’t be rushed into first-team action.
Solskjaer hinted in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game away to Newcastle United that there are no expectations of an immediate impact in the first-team for Pellistri.
“We’re looking forward to integrating them into the group,” Solskjaer said about United’s deadline day signings, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“Facundo has been in training with us two days, very exciting, young, enthusiastic player with some attributes we don’t have. He’s maybe one for the future, maybe not for just now, still only 18.”
In Pellistri and fellow deadline day signing Amad Traore, who arrives in January, United have two of the most promising young forwards of their age group in world football.
But, as Forlan notes in his interview with Mitten, fans won’t be getting too carried away just yet as the pair are very much in the infancy of their careers.
Listen to Forlan’s message to United supporters about their two new Uruguayan stars below, via the club’s official twitter account:
Over to you, Diego 🔊 pic.twitter.com/xBsz1BW5z5
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 11, 2020