Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly plotting a summer swoop on rivals Manchester City for the signing of highly-rated teenage midfielder James McAtee.
According to a report from The Sun, Manchester City could be staring at the prospect of losing James McAtee next year, with the teenage prodigy emerging as a transfer target for arch-rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
McAtee is a product of the Manchester City youth academy and has enjoyed a swift rise through the ranks at the club. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder was promoted to the Cityzens’ Under-18 setup in 2019 and was bumped up to the reserves a year later. He has posted excellent numbers for the Under-18s and Under-23s, scoring 34 goals and assisting 23 more in just 72 games combined.
This hot streak led to McAtee getting his senior debut for Manchester City earlier this season when he came on as a substitute in the 6-1 thrashing of Wycombe Wanderers in the Carabao Cup. The youngster’s performances with the reserves, his ability to score and create goals have led to comparisons with club legend David Silva, with him even getting referred to as the ‘Salford Silva’.
Held in the highest regard at the Etihad, McAtee, however, is looking at an uncertain future at the club. This is because the young attacking midfielder’s current contract with the Premier League champions expires in the summer of 2023. And unlike fellow youngsters Cole Palmer and Liam Delap, he is yet to sign an extension.
The situation has now alerted City’s arch-rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, who are now considering launching a summer swoop for the England Under-20 international.
Manchester United have a rich history of signing and developing some of the best youngsters in England, a tradition that they have moved back to during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign. The Red Devils raided their neighbours, City, for the signing of the prolific youngster, Charlie McNeill, last year and are hoping to repeat the trick with the capture of McAtee in 2022.
Liverpool, too, have shown great focus towards strengthening their youth ranks and building first-team players from within. The acquisition and development of Harvey Elliott is a great example of this policy, while Kaide Gordon has also emerged as a great prospect for the Reds since he arrived from Derby County. They have now set their sights on McAtee to bolster their roster with an eye on the future.
Manchester City turned down an offer from Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion for McAtee. But with the youngster not signing a contract yet, they are getting worried over the situation, especially as Manchester United and Liverpool lurk. It remains to be seen if the 19-year-old pens an extension with the Premier League champions or decides to make the jump to a rival club.