Manchester United Close In On £21m Starlet Dubbed the ‘New Cristiano Ronaldo’

Sir Alex looks to splash Ronaldo cash on a direct replacement.

The Rumour

Manchester United have opened talks with Grêmio about signing Douglas Costa, their highly rated Brazil Under-20 attacking midfield player, as Sir Alex Ferguson steps up his search for the new Cristiano Ronaldo.

Douglas, 18, has been closely monitored by United for more than a year, but despite interest from a host of leading European clubs including Real Madrid and Inter Milan, Ferguson is confident of signing the player this summer as the Barclays Premier League champions continue to look to Brazil for potential stars of the future.

As well as signing Anderson, the Brazil midfield player, from Porto in July 2007, United have plucked three Brazilian players — the Da Silva twins, Rafael and Fábio, and Rodrigo Possebon — from relative obscurity in the past two years.

John Calvert-Toulmin, United’s principal scout in Brazil, recommended that Ferguson sign Douglas last summer, but the manager has opted to wait until now to make his move. Douglas is rumoured to have a £21 million release clause in his contract with Grêmio, which has four years left to run, but United hope to secure him for less than that. Any deal would be dependent on the player getting a work permit.

The Source: (Times Online)

The Analysis

Gremio teenager Douglas Costa is a left sided attacker with the ability to beat a man with pace and trickery and has one mean free kick…sound familiar? Yes the 18 year old is seen as the man who could well be the next Cristiano Ronaldo and that is why Man United‘s Brazilian scout has made it clear to Sir Alex that now is the right time to put in a sizable bid.

Real Madrid and Inter Milan are also keen on bringing the Brazilian Under 20 International to Europe but it appears that the Old Trafford side are heading the chase. The fact that the club has already nabbed four of Costa’s fellow countrymen in the past two years can only be a good thing.

The fee required to enact Costa’s release clause is a little steep given we are talking about a player who has participated in less than a dozen first team games but Sir Alex may feel that such an outlay will more than pay for itself in the long run.

The Likelihood

Costa to Man United: I wouldn’t bet against it.

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