Manchester United are set to intensify their scouting network in South America to find the superstars of tomorrow, in the hope it can save millions of pounds in the long-term future.
The Daily Mail reports that United have been left frustrated at promising Brazilian youngsters being snapped up by other European clubs, so early in their careers.
Brazilians such as Chelsea’s Willian show that South Americans can adapt to the Premier League, and there is an added reliance on technique and skill rather than passion, commitment and the tendency to run around a lot.
Sandro Orlandelli, Sergio De Souza, Juan Mauricio Echeverria, Jorge Alvial and Mark Prizant are some of the new scouts United have appointed across South and North America.
The one success story United have had out of Brazil are the Brazilian twins, Rafael and Fabio, that both represented the first team before leaving Old Trafford. They were signed from Fluminense in 2008, and enjoyed some success at Old Trafford.
United have left the region since then but now want to mirror some of Europe’s top clubs by forging relationships. Players from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay often do not move to this continent until they are nearing the end of their teens – occasionally for work permit reasons – but deals are often struck long before then. They end up costing hundreds of thousands rather than millions, with Premier League clubs now being quoted eye-watering sums for South Americans who they initially turned down as kids.
The most notable Brazilian United missed out on was a certain Ronaldinho, who opted to join Barcelona from Paris-Saint Germain instead in 2003. The Brazilian magician himself said he was “48 hours away” from a move to Old Trafford. Just imagine if that would have happened.
South America in general seems to be a hotspot for producing some of the best players in the world. Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Luis Suarez, Neymar, and others such as Diego Costa (who was born in Brazil) are all some of the best players in the world in their positions, and some moved to big European clubs early on in their careers.
With this ever-growing reliance on pace, technique and skill, the South Americans will feel right at home in the Premier League. The downside would possibly be the effect on the national team, but that’s another debate for another day.