Manchester United target impresses at South American U20 Championship

Juan Fernando Quintero has been a key part of the Colombian side that have perhaps become favourites to win the tournament, and has increased his reputation as one of the most exciting talents in world football.

Given the mystique and excitement that surrounds young South American talent, there was always going to be plenty of European interest in the U20 Championship taking place there at the moment.

Every side wants to try and sign the next Neymar or Messi before they become world superstars, but this year it is neither Brazilian nor Argentinian youngsters that have taken the headlines.

Both of those sides were disposed of in the group stage of the tournament. Each side managed only four points from their four first round matches, with Brazil finishing rock bottom of their group. It was disappointing to see Argentina, the hosts, eliminated so early, but there are plenty of other exacting teams to watch in the second round.

Columbia have emerged as one of the favourites to win the tournament, and that is partly due to the outstanding form of Juan Fernando Quintero. The youngster has three goals and four assists from the five matches Colombia have played so far, and he has increased his already impressive reputation hugely.

The 19 year old has caught the eye of many major sides already this season through his performances for Serie A side Pescara. Playing behind the striker Quintero has demonstrated his creative ability and skill on the ball to stand out for his side as they look to avoid relegation. Despite only joining Pescara in the summer of 2012, Quintero could already be close to moving on again.

Manchester United lead the Premier League interest in the player, but it would appear he would favour a move to another Serie A side if they can match any offer from England. Inter have been labelled as favourites to sign Quintero after he admitted he fancied a move there due to the amount of South Americans already at the club. Other Italian sides who might make a move in the summer ihclude Juventus and AC Milan.

However, given Quintero rapid rise to prominence this season, were he to continue to impress in the rest of the U20 Championship and at Pescara, there could be a major bidding war for his services in the summer.

In that situation you can never count out Manchester United, and Italian clubs might not be able to compete financially with the giants of English, Spanish and German football. Wherever he ends up, Quintero could be one of the major stars of next season.

image: © chilangoco

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch