After launching the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, Sporting Lisbon has a reputation for producing forwards of the highest quality and that trend looks set to continue with their latest academy graduate.
Carlos Mane has been drafted into the Portuguese side’s first team after just 14 games with the B squad and is already attracting glances from Premier League clubs.
The 19-year-old winger scored just once for Lisbon’s reserves but showed enough class in his 14 outings to persuade first team coach Leonardo Jardim to promote him.
That faith has been instantly repaid with Mane netting three times already and Lisbon losing just once in eight league games in which the youngster has featured.
A tally of 11 goals in 52 appearances for Portugal’s youth teams highlights the potential Mane has to influence games from midfield and this has not been lost on the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.
All five are said to be monitoring Mane’s progress in the Primeira Liga and despite the youngster being tied to a long-term deal bids are expected to be made in the summer.
While United’s well-documented struggles this season – they languish in seventh place and are 11/1 to make the top four – might make them an outside chance to land the highly-rated winger, the Red Devils solid relationship with Lisbon could work in their favour.
Ironically, Sporting old boy Nani, who followed fellow former Lisbon ace Ronaldo to Old Trafford, could be used as a makeweight in David Moyes’ pursuit of Mane.
Nani is also tied to a long-term deal after signing a new five-year contract with United, but it is understood the 27-year-old is eyeing a Premier League exit.
United will also face competition from Italy and Germany for the midfielder’s signature, but with Mane already having family based in the UK and the Red Devils able to offer a ready-made replacement in Nani, Moyes looks to be at the head of the queue should Sporting look to do business this summer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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