Manchester United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, faces several crucial decisions this summer as he aims to elevate the club to new heights. With the signing of Mason Mount secured, his next priorities are to strengthen the squad with a striker and a reliable goalkeeper.
Another crucial aspect of this summer’s transfer activity revolves around the players Man Utd plans to sell permanently or send out on loan. One player who finds himself at the center of uncertainty is Facundo Pellistri, with Ten Hag acknowledging the challenges in retaining the talented 21-year-old.
While negotiations for a long-term contract are ongoing, Pellistri’s chances of breaking into the first team next season appear slim. Despite attracting interest from Serie A and La Liga during the January transfer window, Man Utd turned down loan offers for the Uruguayan international.
Now, a new Premier League rule change is set to make the decision regarding Pellistri’s future much easier for the club. Previously, Pellistri was eligible to be registered as an Under-21 player, exempt from occupying a spot in the Premier League squad. However, the updated rule for the 2023/24 Premier League season stipulates that U21 players must be born on or after January 1, 2002.
As a result, if Man Utd decides to keep Pellistri, he would occupy one of the limited 25 slots available to registered squad members, which is unlikely given his limited first-team appearances. In contrast, other young talents at Old Trafford, like Mason Greenwood, Anthony Elanga, and Teden Mengi, who are of the same age as Pellistri, can still be registered as U21 players.
This rule change puts Pellistri at a significant disadvantage, making it challenging for him to secure a spot in the first team next season. Ten Hag’s faith in Pellistri is evident through the offer of a new contract, but for now, the player’s priority is to secure regular playing time and further develop himself. Moving to a new club on loan is seen as the best option for Pellistri to progress in his career and showcase his potential on a weekly basis.