It seems all the news surrounding Manchester United have been related with “the future” of the team. Is Anthony Martial going to sign a new deal? Will Alexis Sanchez leave the club soon? Who is Jose Mourinho targeting as potential January targets? And with that in mind, there is one player that has been getting linked with a move to Manchester United in recent days. He goes by the name of Exequiel Palacios.
Unless you’re an avid South American football fan, you probably have not heard from him. Palacios is a hard-working central midfielder who is already getting attention from the Argentina national team. Some CONMEBOL experts have compared him to Javier Mascherano, although he looks more like an Ever Banega-type of player. Regardless of how his career shapes up, one thing is certain. Palacios is a quality player with a bright future ahead of him.
Though no official bid has been submitted, recent rumours have indicated that Manchester United are “among the teams” tracking the 20-year-old. Real Madrid are considered to be the front-runners to acquire him, but The Red Devils have been listed along with Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona as teams that are watching his development closely. But should we enter a bidding war in order to acquire him, perhaps knowing he won’t he able to contribute on a steady basis in a few more years?
A talented player, but not what the team needs right now
Sure, he looks like a potential star. Palacios has already settled as a starter on a River Plate team that reached the 2018 Copa Libertadores final this past Tuesday, and continues to blossom right in front of everyone’s eyes. But it’s one thing to play in the Copa Libertadores, and a completely different one to do it in the Premier League. He needs, at least, one or two years playing in Europe just to get used to the physicality of a top league.
Plus, where would he fit right now? He is not going to get picked over Paul Pogba or Nemanja Matic. Marouane Fellaini might have his shortcomings, but he’s been playing well, too. And even Andreas Pereira has shown flashes of the kind of player he will eventually become. Pereira’s road is the one United could take with Palacios: sign him, then loan him out so he can get the first-team minutes he will need. Because he is not going to get them at Old Trafford.
Last but not least, let’s remember Manchester United should have other priorities on their list. The team still needs another centre-back, a back-up striker for Romelu Lukaku, and some help on the right wing. Where would we get enough resources to get a central midfielder when we already have a logjam in that position?
This is not a knock on Palacios’ ability, as I still believe he will end up becoming a top-tier player. But right now, he is not what Manchester United needs. And it would be better to pass in order to focus on the other REAL needs on the current squad.