Crystal Palace are interested in Manchester City teenager James McAtee, according to The Athletic’s Sam Lee.
McAtee made his senior City debut as a substitute in last month’s 6-1 EFL Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers.
Pep Guardiola deployed him at left-back that day, but he’s predominantly a central midfielder.
He boasts a seriously impressive record at Under-23 level, with 33 direct goal contributions (19 goals, 14 assists) in 35 appearances (via Transfermarkt). Across all youth levels for City, he has bagged a remarkable 35 goals and 24 assists.
City under-18s Head Coach Carlos Vicens issued a glowing endorsement of McAtee, hailing him a ‘winner’.
Pep Guardiola has apparently ‘earmarked’ him as one of five young talents ‘who will feature around the first team this season’, and so City rebuffed ‘several loan approaches’.
The report from Lee states that Palace and West Ham United have been ‘keeping tabs’ on McAtee.
However, it’s the Eagles’ rivals, Brighton, whose interest is most advanced. They’ve seen an £8million bid rejected by the reigning champions.
Brighton believe an ‘expedited route to first-team football’ could tempt the player, but City’s stance is robust: ‘he is not for sale at any price’.
Even though City are doing their best to ward off any interest – no surprise given McAtee’s outstanding record – Palace, Brighton and West Ham shouldn’t give up on this one.
Is there a team in world football more difficult for a youngster to break into? Will he really displace the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva?
And if McAtee doesn’t see a path, perhaps he will look to his force his way out, while Palace have already shown to be a good home for young and dynamic midfielders making their way from mega clubs – just look at Conor Gallagher.
In other news, fans flocked to Matt Woosnam’s post on Eberechi Eze.
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