How close did Lucas Moura come to joining Man Utd instead of PSG?

Martin Macdonald
How close did Lucas Moura come to joining Man Utd instead of PSG?

The agent of Lucas Moura has provided new details on how close the Brazilian was to joining Manchester United before eventually transferring to Paris Saint-Germain.

After starring for Sao Paulo as a youngster, Moura became one of the hottest properties in Brazil, with his performances catalysing plenty of interest from elite sides in Europe.

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Inter, PSG, and Man Utd were all involved in a transfer tug-of-war of sorts, which the Parisians eventually won after they bid around £38 million (€45m) for Moura, who joined in August of 2012.

It could have been a very different career path for Moura though had Man Utd matched the offer of PSG.

“Everything was fine with Manchester United. The Brazilian was going to play in Manchester,” Moura’s agent Wagner Ribeiro told UOL.

“But [PSG sporting director] Leonardo entered the situation. He called me and said he was putting together a timaço (a great team), with Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.

“He asked how much United would pay. I said it would be €36 million (£31 million). He said he would pay €45 million (£39 million).

“And how was the rest of the negotiation? I told Lucas that Paris was a beautiful city to live in. He asked to speak to his father. We got everything right and I told Gustavo (Oliveira, Sao Paulo’s director) to fly to Paris.”

Sir Alex Ferguson on Moura

In 2012 Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge of Man Utd and had identified Moura as a star of the future.

Wanting to inject some pace into his attack, he and the club started negotiations with Sao Paulo about a potential transfer, only to eventually be gazumped by PSG.

In his second autobiography, ‘Leading’, Ferguson admitted that, although he was a fan of the youngster, the club were not willing to match the financial might of PSG.

“Right towards the end of my time at United we were pursuing Lucas Moura, the immensely talented right winger who, at the time, was playing in his native Brazil for Sao Paulo,” he wrote.

“We offered £24m for him, which was upped to £30million and again to £35million, but Paris Saint-Germain signed him for £45million. David Gill and I were just not prepared to go to those sorts of levels.”

Moura would eventually make his way to the Premier League, though, as in January of 2018 he completed a £25m transfer from PSG to Tottenham.