The 18-year-old had an awful lot to show, and was ready for it. Garnacho has made an increasing impact this season, but this performance against Manchester City felt like one of those career juncture moments in that it was a game-changing impact in a huge match.
The teenager turned Nathan Ake and played a huge part in turning the game. This is exactly the kind of exhilarating talent that has people in the game so excited.
This is why United fans have already honoured Garnacho with the same “viva” tune as Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s how highly he is thought of, and it’s not just at Carrington and Old Trafford.
Lionel Scaloni is almost certain to call him up for Argentina’s March friendlies, and some around the World Cup winners feel Garnacho might even have been an option for the Qatar tournament itself given the manager’s focus on youth. The only reason he wasn’t called up was because Scaloni and his staff felt it wasn’t quite fair to remove one of the trusted squad players they had in the build-up. That’s a sentiment that’s passing with the more the game sees.
Juventus have, meanwhile, been looking. Real Madrid are monitoring his situation. So is virtually every major football agent, as the wider game sees the next potential star. This is one potential caveat to all of the excitement. The new contract put in front of Garnacho remains unsigned, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2024, albeit with the option of an extra year.
The player’s representatives have said an offer of £20,000 isn’t enough, and that doesn’t reflect his growing status on the team. Garnacho is understood to be on £7,000 at present, which certainly doesn’t reflect his status. United, for their part, have taken an understandably measured approach that follows on from Sir Alex Ferguson’s philosophy as regards young players.
The message they’ve been getting across in negotiations is that if young players approach football the right way, the money will follow – and there’s no reason to be worried about it. It’s also about the long term, and properly developing players.
United sources would also stress that the talks have been “positive” with Garnacho’s tight-knit group and long-time agent. That does point to another potential caveat, though. Given that the player is widely expected to be a world star, so many are trying to get involved and make promises about what they can get elsewhere.
There is no concrete offer from Madrid, yet, but they are seeking to build a new squad based on the next generation of players. That is obviously Garnacho. United know they need to be aware of that, while keeping his feet on the ground. That’s where they are set to do considerable damage this season.
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