Alejandro Garnacho’s potential participation at the Olympic Games and Copa America could cause Manchester United significant issues next season.

The Argentine forward has become an integral part of Erik ten Hag’s squad. However, he will likely be called up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The Argentine has increasing prominence at United, highlighted by his FA Cup final goal and a stunner against Everton. But it has also caught the attention of the Argentine national teams.

With La Albiceleste set to defend their Copa America title in June and subsequently participate in the Olympics, Garnacho is in contention for both squads.

Summer duties with Argentina

According to reports from TNT Argentina, Javier Mascherano, the coach of the Olympic team, plans to include Garnacho in his squad. This comes after Argentina’s Copa America campaign, which runs from June 20 to July 14. The Olympics follow shortly, from July 25 to August 11, overlapping with Manchester United’s crucial pre-season preparations.

The 19-year-old will likely play a key role for Argentina. His inclusion in the Olympic squad would mean a quick turnaround from Copa America, potentially leaving him with minimal rest before the Premier League season kicks off on August 16. This situation mirrors the experience of Lionel Messi, who famously missed early-season matches for Barcelona to play in the Olympics, an opportunity he has always cherished.

Alejandro Garnacho has already represented Argentina at international level
Alejandro Garnacho has already represented Argentina at international level

Alejandro Garnacho has already represented Argentina at international level

Club vs Country dilemma

Manchester United find themselves in a difficult position. The club has not yet responded to Argentina’s request, but they face a lose-lose situation. Garnacho’s participation in the Olympics would likely disrupt his pre-season. Thus, it could also delay his return to full fitness for the Premier League. However, denying him the chance to represent his country could lead to dissatisfaction and potential unrest.

United’s new co-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and manager Erik ten Hag will need to weigh these factors carefully. Ratcliffe, who also owns Nice, will have a busy summer rejuvenating United’s squad.

Garnacho, along with Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund, and Kobbie Mainoo, is one of the few players reportedly untouchable and a key part of the club’s future.

If the winger plays in both the Copa America and the Olympics, he will miss a significant part of United’s pre-season and possibly the early matches of the new campaign.

The Olympic Games’ final match is on August 9, just a week before the Premier League starts. Players taking part will be given a rest period before returning to club duties.

Last season, Garnacho emerged as a crucial player for United, scoring 10 goals and providing five assists in 50 appearances across all competitions. His absence at the beginning of the season could hinder United’s efforts to improve on their previous league campaign.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Crystal Pix : IMAGO / ZUMA Wire