Brazilian midfielder Thiago Maia has been heavily linked with a move to Europe recently, and is set to become the target of a bid from Manchester United this summer (via the Express).
The 18-year-old has reportedly been attracting attention from the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, Chelsea, and a host of other top teams this season, but has so far remained with Brazilian side Santos. That could change this summer though, with Manchester United stepping up their pursuit of the box-to-box midfielder.
A number of official bids were apparently turned down last December, with Arsenal among the clubs looking to lure the teenager away. In an exclusive interview with Sport Witness however, his agent Alex Malavolta revealed that his client instead opted to sign a contract extension with Santos.
“When there were six months left to the end of our client Thiago Maia’s contract [the deal was set to end in December], we had official bids from Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Monaco and Arsenal. He chose to renew it and he’s very happy at Santos,” Malavolta said.
“Currently there are many clubs from Germany, Italy, England and Spain coming to Brazil to watch Santos games and especially see our client’s development.
Now with the call up to the Olympic team, the interest from more clubs grows because of the visibility. We believe he will get to the national team soon.
“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.”
Maia is a highly rated youngster and Santos are unlikely to want to sell him cheaply, but so far it’s unclear exactly how much United would have to fork out to get their man. It’s not like the Premier League side have ever had an issue with spending big though, with their most recent big money acquisition being the then 19-year-old Anthony Martial for around the £60m mark (via ESPN).
Manchester United transfer news
There could turn out to be no truth in this rumour, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on, as Maia could end up joining Martial as one of the world’s most expensive teenagers.