Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has tabbed MLS star Valentin Castellanos for a move to Europe after the forward won the league title over the weekend with New York City FC.
Guardiola said he watched NYCFC's MLS Cup final match against the Portland Timbers and was impressed by the player, who broke onto the scene in the U.S. top-flight this past season with 19 goals and eight assists in 32 matches.
Castellanos scored the opener for NYCFC and also converted in a victorious shootout.
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What has been said?
"I think he is a guy who will do the next step in Europe," Guardiola told reporters. "What I saw when the scouting department talked to me, I know he's a quality player and ready to make the next step to Europe and we will see where."
On the MLS Cup final, Guardiola added: "We watched it in the restaurant and we couldn't believe it. I was really impressed with the way they handled the extra time. When you concede a goal with 10 seconds left before finishing the game and being champions and have extra time you can be destroyed.
"But in extra time, wow, they were much, much better. That shows how strong these players are, and the manager. It's a huge compliment for the organisation for New York City because it is the first time and always the first time is special."
Guardiola's connection to NYCFC
The main reason Guardiola has kept an eye on the New York side is that both NYCFC and Manchester City are owned by the City Football Group - a worldwide football conglomerate.
For MLS, having a presence in the City Football Group (as well as Red Bull's stable of clubs) helps with global scouting exposure, and Castellanos could be a beneficiary of the attention.
Where did Castellanos come from?
The 23-year-old Argentine notched the second double-digit goal tally of his young career this campaign, scoring 19 times after previously scoring 11 times in 2019.
He's been with NYCFC since he was a teenager, though he made his professional debut in Uruguay for Torque, now called Montevideo City Torque and also a part of City Football Group.