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PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester United and Barcelona tracking James McAtee - 'Salford's David Silva'

Teenage pearl James McAtee is considered one of the most promising players in Manchester City's youth academy. A number of clubs are on his trail.

Update:
Manchester United and Barcelona tracking James McAtee - 'Salford's David Silva'

Not even a hat trick by James McAtee could stop Manchester City's Under-19s crashing to a 3-5 defeat to Club Brugge in the Youth League. Nevertheless, it was yet another breathtaking performance by City's teenage sensation. With his third hat trick of the season so far, he is on 10 goals from nine league games with the club's Under-23s, The midfielder, still only 19 years old, has been dubbed 'Salford's David Silva', and is not only knocking on Pep Guardiola's door but also has caught the eye of several of Europe's top clubs.

 McAtee, a name to remember

The Daily Mail report that among the clubs who have shown an interest in McAtee are Ajax, Atlético Madrid and Liverpool, while Barcelona and Manchester United are both closely monitoring his progress. While McAtee is one of the emerging stars at Manchester City, his contractual situation is another reason why he is generating interest. He has a market value of just 500,000 euros according to Transfermarkt - a bargain for a player who is an England international at Under-20 level and who will be out of contract in June 2023 and has yet to renew with City.

But apart from the risk of going through something similar to what happened with Jadon Sancho or the outrage that would ensue if McAtee ends up being poached by United, what really concerns City is how to put together a plan of action to help his development. With Phil Foden as a shining example of how young players can come through the system at City, McAtee will be looking at taking the next step up to be part of the first team squad. However, as things stand, ahead of him are the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Foden...

Brighton place offer

On the plus side, Pep Guardiola is an avid admirer of McAtee and willing to reward the youngster by giving him more playing time with the senior side. For that reason the club rejected a number of requests to take the player on loan during the most recent transfer window. While it will be difficult to make room for a player like McAtee to further his development, Guardiola is confident that McAtee will stay at the club and learn from the more experienced stars. The Mail, citing The Athletic, adds that Brighton came in with an £8 million offer for the teenager. But Manchester City are not thing about letting 'Salford's David Silva' escape from their grasp.