17 July 2024

Who is Oscar Zambrano? The 19-year-old wonderkid wanted by Barcelona |  FootballTransfers.com

The 19-year-old is quickly becoming one of the hottest prospects in South American football since making his debut for LDU in September 2021 after graduating from the club’s academy.

Zambrano has featured heavily in the Copa Sudamericana this year, appearing seven times – three of which have come from the start – with the Ecuadorian side set to face Brazilian outfit Fortaleza in the final on October 28.

The midfielder has also represented his country at youth level, playing a major part during Ecuador’s recent run to the knockout stages of the Under-20 World Cup.

Speaking to Ecuadorian radio station Mach Deportes, director of LDU Quito Esteban Paz has provided an update on Zambrano’s situation as the January transfer window fast approaches.

“There is interest from Luton Town for Oscar Zambrano,” Paz told the local journalists as his side prepare for their showpiece match in the Sudamericana at the end of the month.

“In Argentina we had a short meeting, the offer is $4.5m (£3.6m), but it does not meet our expectations. In the negotiation we must be careful with Oscar’s rights and resources, and we have told him so.”

Paz’s comments support speculation that Luton’s head scout Phil Chapple had flown to South America in an attempt to get a deal for Zambrano closer to completion.

It is understood that the Hatters are set to have some serious competition as they try to lure the 19-year-old to Kenilworth Road in the January transfer window.

Eredivisie giants Ajax are also said to be admirers of the midfielder, with the Dutch club possessing a reputation for nurturing young talent and selling players on for a sizeable fee.

It is also claimed that Manchester United are interested in Zambrano, meaning Luton would be in a three-horse race to sign a player who has impressed during the early stages of his career.

The Hatters’ foray into the South American market is a departure from their typical transfer dealings, with the top-flight newcomers largely fishing from the English Football League pond since their promotion in May.

Tahith Chong and Chiedozie Ogbene were handed the opportunity to shine in the Premier League following spells at Birmingham City and Rotherham United respectively in the Championship, whereas centre-back Mads Andersen joined from third-tier side Barnsley.

Luton have won just one of their opening eight matches during their maiden Premier League term but sit outside of the bottom three on goal difference, with the Hatters travelling to Nottingham Forest on October 21 following the international break.

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