Lucas Moura – The new Ronaldo or another false prophet?


The football media has been abuzz today with news that Manchester United have submitted a bid, in the region of £26 million, for the services of Brazilian starlet Lucas Moura. Already the subject of a failed bid from a Chelsea team determined to buy all of the best central midfielders in the world, could this prove to be the new addition that SAF hopes will provide the same flare and goal scoring threat as Ronaldo?  Manchester United are no mugs in the transfer window (despite what certain naysayers and Liverpool fans may tell you), and there is certainly enough gold in the coffers to splash out when the right player becomes available. Can Manchester United flex the kind of financial muscle that saw them procure the services of Berbatov for £30million and change, or will Lucas Moura be another name on an ever expanding list of players who the Red Devils have failed to bring in after another, very public, covetous expedition? 

For anyone who follows Manchester United, it should have been made obvious last season that the area in which they were mostly lacking was the creative central midfield area. This is not an easy position to fill, and for all the best will in the world, it is difficult to see that either a Cleverley or Anderson could have done so to a high enough level had they not been injured. The list of players for whom bids were submitted but rejected makes impressive reading: Sneijder, Modric, Hazard and Nasri to name but a few. The rejections themselves were not so much damaging, but the muttering that Manchester United no longer had the financial power they once had was certainly given wings by the sum of all of these parts. Can Manchester United now get past this by snapping up one of the hottest prospects outside of Europe? And would the money be worth the gamble?

Lucas himself is a 19 year old attacking central midfielder, who can play wide or in behind the striker. He currently plays for Sao Paulo and has impressed for his country at U20 level (scoring a hat trick in the 6-0 demolition of Uruguay in the U20 South American Championships), as well as catching the eye in his dozen or so games for the senior squad. At 5 ft 8 in, he is not necessarily the most domineering presence (see Yaya Toure) but his natural skill, flair and composure on the ball have earned him comparisons to the great Jairzinho.

Could he be the answer to Manchester United’s prayers? It certainly would seem that he is the calibre of player that could make the midfield tick, allowing the strikers (and Wayne Rooney in particular) a chance to stay forward by keeping the ball, and allowing the pace of the wide men to penetrate when things become bogged down in midfield. Often people argue that Brazilians wouldn’t stand up so well to the physical nature of the premier league, a fair point in many cases agreed. There has been a tangible shift in the last 10 years however, into the kind of possession football that Spain have made so perfect, and physicality is not necessarily a natural component of this style. SAF is a man who knows how to keep abreast of footballs progression and how to build his team accordingly and so the fact that he has very publically made clear his interest in this player, should be evidence enough to insist that there may be something in this young man pulling on the Red Shirt of United. It is also worth noting that Lucas himself would be entitled to 20% of any deal that is done for him after the 01st August – Something I am sure Sao Paulo would be keen to avoid, so if anything is to be done, it will be done soon. Watch this space!

Brendan King

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