By Rob Chinnery
United have reportedly been spurned by Sao Paulo following the rejection of a reported €38 million offer for playmaker Lucas Moura. The teenage Brazilian sensation is a target for clubs across Europe, yet the question remains unasked – do Manchester United really need Moura?
While an undoubted future talent, it’s unlikely that Ferguson will lose much sleep from failing to land the 19 year old, having already bolstered his squad with flair during this transfer market by bringing in Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa.
Looking back at Manchester United last season, a lethal attacking threat in the centre of midfield was glaringly lacking. Cleverley, while talented and versatile, is not yet experienced enough for such high responsibility within the team, whilst Anderson continually seems to be walking with a limp. Paul Scholes was once again our main creative outlet but at 38, his game time is limited and we cannot depend on him game in game out.
But with Kagawa looking to be the missing piece to the puzzle, any more players vying for the playmaker position could potentially complicate the consistency of the squad, and simply be surplus to requirements.
While Kagawa is far from the complete midfielder – his defensive game is lacking but this has always been part of his style – this should not repress his chances of being a long term replacement for Paul Scholes, a man notorious for having the tackling ability of a run away Ford Transit.
As mentioned in a previously posted article concerning the workable “new look” formation, Kagawa does not have the luxury of time to adjust to the high physical dominance of the Premier League. His best form is required now.
Surrounded by a sizable level of hype this pre-season, having scored 21 goals in 49 appearances for his former club – including an early goal and assist against Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal Cup Final – the player is a clear creative attacking talent, which will only flourish under Sir Alex Ferguson’s guidance.
Would Moura be any more effective? While impressive, the high offer is more a payment made in faith rather than fact considering the player himself has yet to turn 20. And with Sao Paulo clinging onto their player regardless of price – having also rejected £32.4 million move to Chelsea – it would be more pragmatic for United to bide their time for at least a season to await Moura’s development in the Brazilian leagues. The strategy seems to be working well for admirers of fellow Brazilian
Also, the arrival of Lucas Moura would surely lead to United selling Nani, our most prolific winger. He may not be the consistent performer we want but he showed his world class at Euro 2012 and United would be foolish to let him go in order to take a chance on Moura.
Rather than focusing on Moura, United need to focus on a more pressing issue. They haven’t found a truly effective defensive midfielder since the tragically injury-prone Hargreaves. Defensive cover is the real hole in United’s strategy, and the right player would give full license for Ferguson to utilise Kagawa behind Rooney in the attacking midfield role.
While Carrick is effective, and Phil Jones becoming increasingly solid, the purchase of an out and out midfield support, be it Javi Martínez, Moutinho or Strootman, would secure the knowledge that United are looking to forcefully reclaim their lost title. Lucas Moura is not that man.