Skip to main content

Manchester United transfer rumours: United plan audacious cross-city move for Manchester City starlet dubbed the "Salford Silva"

Manchester City
(Image credit: Getty)

Manchester United have conducted a lot of recent transfer business by stealing a march on Manchester City and nabbing their targets - but now they could go one better.

According to the Manchester Evening News, United are said to be "admirers" of James McAtee, a 19-year-old starlet in City's academy, who has yet to commit his long-term future to the club.

City's academy has come under increased visibility in the last few years after producing Phil Foden. Foden has become a City regular at the age of 21 with Pep Guardiola declaring him the "most, most, most talented player" he's ever seen. 

It's perhaps Foden's academy mate Jadon Sancho that United will be looking for McAtee to replicate, though. London-born Sancho came through City's ranks before leaving to join Borussia Dortmund in search of minutes. In the summer, he returned to Manchester, only to join City's rivals at Old Trafford.

Man City will be keen to avoid a repeat of that scenario and tie down McAtee, after agreeing new deals for both Liam Delap and Cole Palmer. Delap and Palmer have both featured sporadically for the first team under Guardiola and City apparently see the pair as having a long-term future beyond the Catalan.

McAtee is similarly highly-rated. The playmaker made his senior debut in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers in September and 12 months ago, he scored in the FA Youth Cup final victory against Chelsea. 

McAtee has been dubbed "the Salford Silva" in relation to both Bernardo and David Silva's times at Manchester City. The 19-year-old registered eight goals with nine assists in twenty-three appearances as City became champions of the 2020/21 Premier League 2.

United would see it as a huge coup to sign McAtee, recalling the days when Denis Law swapped the blue side of Manchester for Red.