James McAtee has just 18 months remaining on his current deal and has shown no intention of signing a new long-term deal with the club. The progress of fellow academy graduates Phil Foden and Cole Palmer into the first-team setup under Pep Guardiola is said to be the reason behind the younger stalling contract talks.
Premier League sides Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion are scouting the young prospect. While Leicester City have shown a keen interest in the young forward and are keeping tabs on his contract situation. While Championship sides like Bournemouth, QPR, Blackburn, and Swansea are all said to be interested in loaning the forward.
Manchester United legend Gary Neville’s verdict on James McAtee
James McAtee made his Premier League debut earlier this season. Speaking while commentating about the young prospect, Neville said:
“It’s not an academy, it’s a cloning system.
“They’re like clones, they’re all the same.
“It’s almost like David Silva has left them all behind!”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been high on praise for the young forward too. Talking about Palmer and James during a post-match interview, he said:
“It was difficult for all of us, people who play in the middle to find places. Striker is the most difficult position in the team.
“When the game went on he felt more comfortable. Now he has almost 90 minutes in his legs, when you let the players play.
“It is an incredible investment for the club and the future. Very pleased and with the few minutes James McAtee played as well.”
Is a move away from the Etihad stadium a sensible move for the young forward?
The young forward has been in good form in the Premier League 2. He has recorded an impressive 14 goals in 15 matches in the Premier League 2. But despite the outstanding form and performances, he has only made 3 appearances in the first team this term. (stats via Transfermarkt)
The young forward may very well follow the career paths of Jadon Sancho and Brahim Díaz. Both the Manchester City academy graduates moved away from the Etihad Stadium in favor of first-team action. Both the forwards have done quite well since leaving Manchester. Leicester City will certainly offer more first-team opportunities to McAtee.
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