By 90Min
November 21, 2018

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has suddenly been linked with several of Europe's elite clubs in recent days, with Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all alleged to be interested in signing the home grown 21 year old.

It comes at a time when United are believed to be keen on handing Rashford a new contract - his current deal signed two and a half years ago is due to expire in 2020 - but joining Real, Juve or PSG could hardly be a worse move for the player at this stage of his career.

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Rashford has appeared in more games than any other United player in each of the last two seasons - 53 in 2016/17 and 52 in 2017/18. He has again been heavily involved in 2018/19, featuring in 13 games out a possible 17, and three of those he has missed due to suspension.

The problem for Rashford remains that he only starts about half the time and rarely completes 90 minutes. It has led to accusations that United boss Jose Mourinho is hindering the player's development and claims that he might be better off elsewhere.

If his frustration is a lack of consistent playing time, the only way is down, to a middling Premier League club like Everton, West Ham or Leicester where his chances of playing every week would be stronger, where he might score 20 goals, but where the overall quality is lower.

Assuming there is any genuine interest from Europe's giants and Rashford hypothetically accepts the call, his playing time would almost certainly be even less with them than it is now.

Real are rumoured to planning a squad overhaul that could see Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale ultimately sacrificed, but it feels doubtful they would build a new team around him as the attacking focal point at this still very early stage of his career. The attention would be elsewhere.

Joining Juve would mean stepping into a team that is already built and fully stocked with attacking talent - Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi. There is gossip that teenage prodigy Moise Kean could be loaned out again because he isn't getting a look in at first team level.

Then there is PSG, a club with arguably the single best front three in world football - Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani. Rashford is good and he has earned his reputation as one of the world's brightest talents, but Neymar and Mbappe in particular are a step above.

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At United, his hometown club, Rashford's path to regular first team chances is not that hazy. Romelu Lukaku has struggled for consistency ever since joining from Everton, while Alexis Sanchez hasn't hit the heights expected of him since a high profile move from Arsenal.

Anthony Martial has shown that putting in good performances will be repaid with a more regular place in the team, with the Frenchman going from strength to strength in recent weeks after starting the club's last six Premier League games in a row. All too often over the last 18 months, Rashford hasn't made the most of his chances when they have come his way.

Of course, there remains a degree of suspicion as to whether 'interest' from the continental elite is genuine. It certainly seems 'convenient' for these rumours to surface at this moment in time when contract negotiations are believed to be kicking off.

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But the best thing for Marcus Rashford right now is to focus on playing games for United.

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