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Who is Manchester United-linked 'new Lionel Messi' Thiago Almada?

With a number of top European clubs being linked with Thiago Almada, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at the Velez Sarsfield playmaker.

Despite the uncertainty over the opening of the next transfer window, clubs around the globe are still identifying potential targets ahead of the following campaign.

Having emerged as one of top prospects in South America, Velez Sarsfield playmaker Thiago Almada is said to be on the radar of a number of high-profile teams, including Manchester United.

Being dubbed "the new Lionel Messi" has allegedly led to Manchester City, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund also considering a bid for the 19-year-old.

With that in mind, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at a player who has a release clause in his contract, set at €22m (£19.7m) up until the end of August.

Where does he play?

Diminutive in size, Almada is very much a player who is not provided with much defensive responsibility.

Given his age, he has been used in a number of attacking positions during the early stages of his career, but the youngster is normally deployed in the 'number 10 role' or on the left wing.


Almada has been recognised as part of the first-team setup at Velez Sarsfield since the start of 2018, shortly after he had turned 17 years of age.

His debut came just over a month later, playing just over an hour in a 2-0 victory over Newell's Old Boys.

How has he performed this season?

Almada enjoyed a slightly less profilic campaign during 2019-20, contributing four goals and one assist from his 22 league appearances.

However, having only completed five matches and being introduced as a substitute on 10 occasions, it was still a respectable return.

In total, Almada already has 46 first-team outings to his name, despite his 19th birthday only coming last month.

International experience?

While breaking into the Argentina senior squad may only be a matter of time, Almada is yet to progress past the Under-20 setup.

One goal - against Ecuador in January 2019 - has been recorded from seven caps.

Is he likely to feature in the starting lineup?

Regardless of his next destination, Almada is viewed as a player for the future, rather than someone who is going to feature in the starting lineup every week.

However, whoever wins the race for his signature will regard it as a significant coup, which will result in regular senior outings from the substitutes' bench and in cup competitions.

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General view outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on August 12, 2018
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Arsenal join race for 'new Messi' Thiago Almada?
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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