Porto coach Julen Lopetegui was this afternoon asked directly about rumours linking him with a loan move for Manchester United playmaker Adnan Januzaj, delivering a response which failed to miserably to quash rumours the Belgian international could end up leaving Old Trafford this month.
Januzaj has made only four starts in the Premier League all season long, with Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal largely preferring more experience, proven players in his favoured attacking midfield role.
The 19-year-old looks a player desperate for more regular first-team football and could get just that if Van Gaal agrees to let him leave on loan before the January window slams shut, with Porto mentioned as a potential place for him to develop until the current campaign closes.
Lopetegui offers reply
The Portuguese giants have a commitment to fast, attacking football under Lopetegui that would certainly suit Januzaj's style, which is perhaps why speculation putting the two together has gathered pace this week.
Lopetegui was asked if he's been offered the chance to sign one of European football's most exciting teenagers in his latest pre-match press conference, but refused to either confirm or deny those reports.
He told A Bola: “I’m not saying it’s true or not. I’m just concentrating on the game with Penafiel. That’s what I’m thinking about.”
Would Januzaj get in Porto's starting XI?
United's prodigy would get the chance to play Champions League football and fight for trophies if he does end up joining Porto, but in truth there's no guarantee he would even start for the Portuguese giants even if a deal could be agreed.
Porto have a range of exciting options in attack, including Ricardo Quaresman, Cristian Tello, Yacine Brahimi and Juan Quintero. Januzaj would have to hit the ground running to get a start for a side chasing champions and league leaders Benfica, with no guarantees of more game-time than he's currently getting at United.
For that reason it's hard to see this deal getting over the line, but a loan move still looks a distinct possibility for a hugely talented starlet who has definitely failed to kick on this season.