Real Madrid are watching from afar as one of their academy graduates makes his way in the game at Manchester United.
Álvaro Fernández Carreras, a left-back born in Ferrol, Spain, played through the youth system at Racing de Ferrol and Deportivo de la Coruña, before joining Real Madrid in 2017, with a view to a potential future in the first team.
In the summer of 2020, he left Madrid for Manchester, where he is now developing into a talented left-back.
In May, the Premier League club named Fernández their Under-23 Player of the Year for 2021/22, becoming the first Spanish player to win the Denzil Haroun Player of the Year award.
“Álvaro has been a standout performer from a really strong group of players within our Under-23s team,” Nick Cox, head of United’s Academy, told manutd.com.
“We deliberately keep this age group young and that is certainly evidenced by the fact that Álvaro has won this award despite only turning 19 in March.
“Álvaro has developed a lot this season, playing an important role in Premier League 2, the Youth League, the EFL Trophy and also progressing with Spain’s Under-19s.
“He has consistently risen to the various challenges that have been put in front of him and should be very proud of how he has adapted to English football.
“Álvaro has also been an excellent role model and support for his team-mates, displaying all of the characteristics that the Academy want to see from our young players.
“The opportunities that he has earnt himself to travel with the first-team and experience that environment are extremely well deserved through his hard work and dedication.”
Fernández, who has also featured on two occasions for the Spain Under-19 team, is an attack-minded full-back, who loves to drive at the opposition defence and create chances from the left.
Despite being a modern full-back, he is also strong defensively and in one-v-one situations.
The 19-year-old has regularly trained with the United first team after a stellar season at youth level, and was first named in a first-team matchday squad for April’s Premier League match against Chelsea.
With the ability to play on both flanks, although he prefers to play on the left, he made 31 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring four goals and providing six assists, impressive numbers for a defender.
In the Premier League 2, he played 22 times in 2021-22, scoring three goals and registering four assists.
In six UEFA Youth League games for United last season, Fernández scored one and created two.
Former United interim manager Ralf Ragnick took note and in the last four Premier League games, called him up to the first-team squad.
The Galician defender has yet to make his official debut for United’s senior side but could feature under new manager Erik ten Hag in this summer’s pre-season schedule.
Ten Hag has the habit of promoting youth and likes to use attacking, wide full-backs. United’s current left-backs Luke Shaw and Alex Telles both underperformed last season, which could give Fernández a chance to be around the first team in 2022-23.
Still only 19, a loan move away from Old Trafford would not be a major surprise either as the young Spaniard continues to develop.
At the time of writing, United are working on signing left-back Tyrell Malacia (22) from Feyenoord. Malacia will be the club’s first signing of the Ten Hag era.
The Premier League club continue to work on a deal for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with the fee believed to be in the region of €85 million including add-ons.