LDU Quito president Isaac Alcarez has pushed back reports that Oscar Zambrano is on the cusp of joining AFC Bournemouth this month. The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent weeks, with Manchester United and Brighton said to be among his suitors.
Zambrano has emerged as one of the top South American talents over the past 18 months, seeing him earn a call-up to the Ecuador international team in recent months. As a result, the 19-year-old has drawn comparisons to Chelsea star Moises Caicedo – who joined the Blues for £115million over the summer.
With Zambrano earning such a strong reputation, his impressive rise through the ranks has caught the attention of numerous top clubs around Europe. Bournemouth are among those keen to acquire his services, with reports speculating that they are on the verge of welcoming him to their ranks in a deal worth £5million.
However, LDU Quito president Alvarez has claimed that there is no truth to those reports. In an interview with ESPN, he explained: “I am not in charge of Oscar Zambrano.
“A week ago, he had a conversation with Diego Castro. There is nothing formal or definitive. We have to wait. It will be the best for the player and for the institution. The transfers have not been closed; we will see what will happen in the coming days.”
Castro, the agent of Zambrano, is said to have insisted privately to reporters that his client was Cherries-bound, though the briefing did not go to plan as the playmaker remains with LDU Quito.
The race for the teenage sensation is therefore wide-open, which will be music to the ears of Erik ten Hag and Sir Jim Ratcliffe. United have been credited with holding an interest in Zambrano this month, and they may have now been offered the opportunity to pounce and try and put themselves in pole position to win the race for his signature.
The Red Devils are expected to shake up their ranks significantly over the coming months, with their recruitment a key focus of Ratcliffe. United have misspent their transfer funds significantly in years gone by, and therefore signing a top talent from South America for a minimal fee could be a sign of change at Old Trafford and indicate to the rest of the Premier League that a period of change is set to ensue at the club.