Manchester United scouts were present last night as Benfica took on Sporting Lisbon in one of Portugal’s fiercest local derbies.
The Lisbon derby saw Sporting come out on top with a comfortable 3-0 win and the game was particularly hostile because Sporting’s manager Jorge Jesus left controversially left Benfica in the summer to join their bitter city rivals.
From Man United’s perspective, who are the players they might have been interested in?
One name which will inevitably crop up is Nicolas Gaitan, a player who we have long been linked with, as well as Sporting midfielder William Carvalho who David Moyes scouted for effectively the whole season before he was sacked as United boss.
Offical list of club scouts sent to Benfica-Sporting. pic.twitter.com/hEAG8UmrjA
— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) October 25, 2015
While Carvalho at one stage looked like the perfect defensive midfield signing for United, the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger have made it one of the strongest parts of our team, so there isn’t a burning necessity to sign somebody in that position any more.
As for Gaitan, surely he would have been signed by now if anything was going to happen? That being said, it won’t stop the rumours from re-appearing.
When it comes to young players, Portuguese teams have an excellent history of identifying gems and nurturing them – look no further than United buying Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon – so we’ll always have a scout presence out there, keeping an eye out just in case the next Ronaldo turns up.