So the third biggest transfer saga of the summer looks to have ended. While the battle for Van Persie and Modric rumbles on, Manchester United target Lucas Moura seems to have made the move to big spending Paris-St-Germain. Rather than any disappointment for the red half of Manchester, this should be a relief.
According to reports, the fee for Moura is somewhere in the range of £30 million, with a large chunk of agents fees. Now this is the first reason why missing out on Moura is no bad thing. However much they protest, the Glazer family does not have a huge amount of money to be spending at United. The money that they do have needs to be spent wisely. A huge sum on an unproven 19 year old seems astonishing and certainly does not provide value for money. After all, Moura isn’t getting a first choice pick in the Brazil Olympic squad, even though the squad is largely under-23 players.
There have been times over the last few weeks when I have wondered whether Ferguson has taken leave of his senses. The second Sao Paulo started asking for more than 15-20 million for this kid, United should have turned their back and moved on. Sure he may be worth more in the future, but right now it is a huge gamble to pay that kind of money. However United did not turn their back and now here we are with ten days to the start of the Premier League and United have not added to their early acquisitions of Kagawa and Powell. Ferguson has invested a lot of time in pursuing Moura and Van Persie but United have not solved their problem areas. These problem areas are without doubt the need for left back cover, as Ferguson himself has admitted, and also the desperate need for another creative midfielder. Instead of wasting time on Moura, the Old Trafford side should have been pushing on with their efforts to sign Leighton Baines or looking for a suitable alternative. They should also have been looking at finding a quality, proven European midfielder, a Moutinho or a Sahin perhaps. This is a worry for United ahead of the new campaign.
Perhaps the main reason that United should be pleased to have lost out on signing Moura is the fact that United don’t need a winger. They have plenty of quality in those positions with Nani, Young, Valencia and Giggs as well as young talent such as Robbie Brady. Moura would have been another option for sure, but there are more important departments to strengthen at Old Trafford.
Personally, one of my key reservations from the start was the track record of Brazilians at Old Trafford and the Premier League in general. United have struggled with Kleberson and Anderson, while the Da Silva twins still have a lot to prove. More generally the Premier League has seen great Brazilian talents like Robinho and Elano fall way short of the mark in England. Current players like David Luiz have has huge struggles here, finding the pace and physicality of the English game too much to handle. There is nothing to suggest that Moura would cope any better. Those players just mentioned had experience of playing in Europe at least before they arrived in England. Moura has not and so I never saw that he would be adaptable to the English game. Certainly it is too much of a risk for that kind of cash. We will see how new Chelsea signing Oscar does, but I am struggling to think of any Brazilian who has ever shone in the Premier League.
So Paris-St-Germain have beaten United to the signing of Lucas Moura. So what? The press will no doubt make a huge deal of this signifying the decline of power for Manchester United. Well if decline in power means not signing an unproven, overpriced, unneeded player then bring it on.
After all, when Usain Bolt is signed…