Manchester United’s Head of Academy, Nick Cox, has revealed how a squabble between his two young sons nearly scuppered the transfer of Alejandro Garnacho.
The Argentine winger, who joined United from Atletico Madrid in August 2020 for £420,000, is now one of Europe’s most exciting talents. But Cox disclosed that the deal almost fell through during a video call made to convince Garnacho and his family that United was the best club for his development.
“My boys at the time would have been 14 and 10, and I remember vividly that they were arguing with each other while I was trying to sign Alejandro,” he told United Review.
“I still tell my boys now, had that argument rumbled on much longer, then we probably wouldn’t have Alejandro at Manchester United!
“We must have done okay, because he agreed to sign. He joined us as a first-year scholar in 2020, late August, right in the throes of lockdown.
“When he landed, we had to coach him over video call in his back garden and get a fitness programme together.
“Then, once he was with us, trying to deliver fitness sessions in the afternoons when he was back at home, or English lessons via video call, was tricky.
“Our staff had to be really inventive and imaginative in how we supported him, but he had to be really resilient and focused, and there was an early example there of the character he’s got.
“We learned very quickly that we’d got a young man who’s determined, resilient, focused, driven, and those are all things that you need if you’re going to be a Manchester United player.”
When Garnacho, 19, arrived in Manchester, he had to spend a fortnight quarantining and had to arrive already changed for training a maximum of 75 minutes before going straight home.
Despite the tough start to his United career, he soon proved his worth, playing a starring role in the club’s FA Youth Cup win and winning the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award.
This season, Garnacho has established himself as an automatic pick for United, having started their last 19 games in all competitions.