Manchester United are on course for a potentially trophy-less season and missing out on the Champions League but the rebuilding could soon start, with a Brazilian wonderkid now on the Red Devils radar.
United have been linked with a summer move for highly rated Santos midfielder Thiago Maia but will have to beat a string of rival suitors to land the 18-year-old.
Maia established himself as a first-team regular at Santos last season, netting two goals in 28 appearances and attracting admiring glances from the some of the biggest teams in Europe.
According to the player’s agent he snubbed potential moves to Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Monaco and Arsenal last year in order to continue his development at the club that birthed the careers of Pele and Neymar.
However, despite seeing his client sign a new deal the agent now seems more open to the possibility of a move to Europe, telling Sport Witness: “Manchester United is a club which needs no comments. I read in websites, newspapers and receive calls about these clubs, that also United and Chelsea are monitoring them to buy him.
“For now, no official interest or official bids have come. But if they come, I’m sure Thiago Maia will analyse it very carefully.”
United will hope to put their Europa League exit to Liverpool to the back of their minds this weekend as they travel across Manchester to take on bitter rivals City at the Etihad.
The Citizens go into the game as 5/6 favourites, with the Red Devils priced up as 7/2 underdogs and the draw available at 13/5.
Lose another high profile game and United boss Louis van Gaal will be even more likely to depart Old Trafford at the end of the season and should current favourite Jose Mourinho take his place as expected the chances of Portuguese-speaking Maia arriving this summer will surely increase.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.