Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that Manchester United fans may have to keep waiting to see any of the club’s deadline day signings in action, with Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri doubtful to appear against Newcastle and Edinson Cavani already ruled out due to quarantine.
United signed four players in a somewhat desperate flurry of deadline day business earlier this month. Cavani joined as a free agent, Telles arrived in a £15.4m deal from Porto, while Pellistri cost around £8m to buy from Penarol. There was also a £19m plus £18.5m deal agreed for Atalanta winger Amad Diallo, who will make the move to Old Trafford at a later date.
It was already known that Cavani would miss out on a potential debut against Newcastle as a result of having to isolate as part of ongoing COVID-19 protocol. But Telles is also in need of rest after returning from international duty in South America, while Pellistri is still only 18 and is considered one for the future, despite already impressing in training.
Telles appeared as a substitute for Brazil in World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru and has hardly spent any time with his new Old Trafford teammates at all.
“Alex has travelled all round the world. He flew overnight and got here on Thursday,” Solskjaer told MUTV ahead of the crucial trip to Newcastle. As for Pellistri, he noted: “He’s a young boy coming from Uruguay. It’s the tradition we have here where we want to bring young players in and let them grow and develop and become the player they can be.
“Of course, we’ll give him time. He’s more one for the future than now, but he’s exciting and he’s shown some things in training that we don’t really have here. I’m looking forward to helping him develop and helping him settle.”
Club captain Harry Maguire has returned from international duty an injury doubt. It was a night to forget for the centre-back, who has already been under fierce scrutiny this season, when he was sent off in the first half for England against Denmark and looked to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders as he trudged from the Wembley pitch.
There have been calls for Solskjaer to withdraw Maguire from the limelight to allow him to take a breath in extremely difficult circumstances, even from ex-United star Rio Ferdinand. Maguire himself is rumoured to want to face it head on and carry on playing.
Dropping the £80m defender at this point would cause even more of a frenzy among fans, pundits and journalists, seemingly making it a lose-lose situation for Solskjaer. But a timely injury might just lower the intense heat on everyone involved.
“Harry seemed to pick up a little knock just before he got sent off,” the United boss said. “So we’re having a look at him today to see how he is. You never know [how players are injury wise] until they get back and we have had a look at them.”