The decision by teenage Brazilian star Lucas Moura to join Paris Saint-Germain instead of Manchester United represents another significant coup for the oil-rich French side while simultaneously putting a dent in Sir Alex Ferguson’s summer transfer endeavours.
The move will no doubt drag up memories for many United fans and possibly even Fergie of a failed pursuit of one Ronaldinho Gaucho back in 2001. PSG won the race to sign that particular Brazilian too and Ferguson was again beaten to the punch as the player joined Barcelona two years later. Ronaldinho was then crowned FIFA world player of the year in both 2004 and 2005. Whether Lucas Moura’s quality is enough to scale these dizzying heights remains to be seen.
Some would point to the 19-year-old’s price tag, reported to be in excess of £35 million, as being vastly over-inflated for a youngster who has yet to be really tested outside of South America. It seems though, that United may have been willing to part with a similar figure for the player’s services before the Parisian outfit intervened.
Moura’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, claims that Sao Paulo and United had reached an agreement over the teenager and that they were ready to finalise the move before former Brazil hero turned PSG director Leonardo convinced the player to join the newly bulging squad at the Parc des Princes.
There has been no comment from Old Trafford confirming that they were close to landing the player but Sir Alex had taken the unusual step of admitting interest in the Sao Paulo man and the papers had speculated over the player’s transfer to United for weeks. His decision therefore represents a blow for United who seem intent on adding another creative midfielder to their squad.
Shinji Kagawa has arrived from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell has joined from Crewe but many United fans are demanding further investment in the middle of the park and it would seem that the manager agrees given his failed pursuit of Moura. Unfortunately for Ferguson this is the second time United have lost a transfer race this summer with Eden Hazard electing to join Chelsea.
With the old Trafford supremo a keen advocate of getting value for money rather than bolstering his squad unnecessarily, those sections of the United support clamouring for a significant midfield arrival should not hold their breath. The Manchester outfit however, continue to be linked with a range of players and some sections of the press have pointed to a move for Ajax’s Christian Eriksen or Isco from financially troubled Malaga. Should the long serving boss identify either man as a viable option then supporters will be hoping that he can seal a deal at the third time of asking. United also look keen on strengthening in other areas with the Robin Van Persie saga trundling the media also reporting a lingering interest in Everton’s Leighton Baines.
PSG meanwhile continue to up the ante in the European transfer market as they look to claim Ligue 1 for the first time since 1994 and challenge Europe’s big guns in the Champions League. Argentine Javier Pastore was the first real statement of intent arriving last summer but this transfer window has seen the French side really move things up a gear with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and now Lucas Moura, who will remain in Brazil until January, all added to what must surely now be an impressive payroll.