Report: Manchester United in pole position for Penarol striker Kevin Mendez

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Manchester United are reportedly leading the way to sign a player dubbed by some as the ‘new Luis Suarez’.

18-year-old Uruguayan Kevin Mendez was previously said to be a target for a number of Premier League sides, including Chelsea and Liverpool - who were recommended the forward’s services by Luis Suarez.

Likened to Barcelona forward, Mendez currently plies his trade with Montevideo club Penarol, although he has yet to make a professional competitive appearance for them. He starred for his side at last year’s Under-17 World Cup - scoring two goals and registering two assists as Uruguay reached the quarter-finals - and has netted six goals in 15 games for La Celeste’s youth side.

His form at the 2013 tournament had a number of European clubs scouting the youngster, with Chelsea and Liverpool reportedly close to agreeing deals for him following the tournament. However, no deal was completed, and the teenager has stayed in his homeland. But he could be looking to leave in the coming months - with Manchester United reportedly agreeing a deal with Penarol for his services.

Following reports of United's interest in the player circulating in the English press in recent days, calciomercato are now reporting that Red Devils head coach Louis van Gaal has ‘already done a great deal to the South American club’ and that United are in 'pole position' for the youngster.

The report of a possible move to Manchester has also been backed up in recent weeks by the player himself confirming that he was awarded an Italian passport, allowing any switch to Europe to go through without the need of a work permit; something that would be unlikely for the youngster, considering his lack of first-team appearances for both his club and country.

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