The Los Angeles Galaxy manager, Alexi Lalas, has warned Freddy Adu about the risks of making "the wrong move" overseas.
Adu, 17, is training with Manchester United but Lalas is worried the Premiership might not be right for him. "He is a wonderful talent but I worry about his size. He needs to go to the appropriate team" said Lalas. "If he goes to the wrong team he will get swallowed up on and off the pitch - it will be a waste of time. He's not a player that can adapt to anything."
Adu, who plays for the American team DC United, started a two-week stint with the Premiership leaders' Academy team on Monday, and the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has already expressed a desire to sign the teenager if he proves himself.
"I think we would be interested - he's only young but we have known of him for a long time," said Ferguson. "We tried to get him here some years ago but he signed for DC United and that stopped the progress of us keeping tabs on him."
Adu, who will be available for transfer when he turns 18 next June, has made clear his wish to leave Major League Soccer for a bigger challenge and a number of top European teams have been linked with the Ghanaian-born talent.
Lalas' concern that a move to a club of United's size could be too much too soon for Adu was supported by Adu's personal manager, the former Polish international Peter Nowak. "I think he'd like to go to somewhere he's not only going to play but also develop in the right way," said Nowak, who was a teenage sensation himself in Poland before playing in Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and, ultimately, America.
"[But] I don't think the clubs with the highest budget in the world will wait for Freddy to develop - they can buy another player for $20m [£10.4m] or $30m. They can do that and if you don't like it they're going to buy another player. The guys who really develop kids in the right way are the Dutch league and some of the Spanish league, because it is more technical."Reuse content