Manchester United were favourites to land Lucas Moura in the summer, with the club being prepared to spend an incredible £35m on a player who had never played outside of Brazil. However, at the last minute, the player opted to sign for PSG instead.
“Everything was agreed between Sao Paulo and Manchester United,” his agent, Ribeiro, said in August. “The contract had been written and just needed to be signed. But then Leonardo called me and asked to talk to Lucas. They talked. Leonardo was helped by the fact he is Brazilian. He was very gentle with Lucas. The possibility of living in Paris – a much more pleasant city than Manchester – also influenced his decision. But it was PSG’s project that impressed Lucas.”
Last November, Lucas went in to a bit more detail over his reasons for choosing PSG, claiming that United wanted him to join the club straight away whilst PSG were prepared to let him stay in Brazil until December.
“Manchester United last summer? We were very close to an agreement,” he said. “But I finally signed at Paris for several reasons. For the challenge to build a great team in Paris, because there are a lot of Brazilian players at PSG and also because signing at PSG, I could stay at Sao Paulo until the end of the Brazilian season. Leonardo convinced me. He talked to my parents, told me I could stay until December and explained PSG’s ambitions and objectives.”
However, with us close to a year after the snub, Lucas has told FourFourTwo that whilst being allowed to stay in Brazil influenced his move, PSG offered him more money.
“I was really close to signing for Manchester United during the Olympics last year,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy decision but in the end I joined PSG, largely because they allowed me to stay in Brazil until the end of the year. And PSG’s terms were better.”
Lucas has received rave reviews since moving to France and clearly is a talented player. Only time will tell whether he’s worth £35m and the top salary PSG are paying him. Having watched him throughout the Olympics last summer, it was obvious he had potential but he didn’t really shine when he was on the pitch. Now playing in an inferior league, where Joey Barton is a regular starter in midfield for the 2nd best team in the country, Lucas is showing what he’s capable of. Would he have been able to perform at that level in the Premier League? We’ll never know…