Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson says a deal has yet to be agreed, but the club are interested in the Sao Paulo youngster.
But here’s the issue – Manchester United already have the best set of attacking midfielders / wingers in the Premier League – and they are all entering the prime of their careers. Nani is 25. Antonio Valencia is 26. And Ashley Young just turned 27 this month.
New signing Shinji Kagawa, who can play predominantly through the middle, in the hole as a central attacking midfielder but also can operate from wide areas, is only 23.
So is Moura the answer to re-claiming the Premier League title (lost on goal difference to bitter rivals Manchester City last season) and bringing it back to the red side of Manchester this season?
I don’t think so. He’s one for the future – and if the spending doesn’t stop with Moura, then of course – he is a 5-star signing, a world class addition. But if that’s the last throw of the proverbial transfer dice for the club entering the new season, then I think the money could be better spent upgrading other areas of the squad with less depth. The central defensive areas (both CB as well as in front of the back four in the defensive midfielder ‘Makelele’ role) need strengthening. On paper, the sounds of Vidic, Ferdinand, Jones and Smalling looks like ample cover but the injuries come thick and fast to those 4 and Vidic turns 31 this season while Ferdinand turns 34 – neither can be predicted to play 38 league games, much less 32-35.
At left back and right back there are still a few question marks. Is Rafael really one for the future at the right? Can he make a breakthrough this season to establish himself as a firm first teamer worthy of challenging for titles or is he merely a squad player? It’s uncertain. And surely Patrice Evra, at 31, could use a bit of competition at LB in the coming years, though his talents are obvious.
It goes without saying that Anderson’s inconsistency is far from world class and Darren Fletcher’s recent serious injuries have prevented him from owning the defensive central midfield position, so there is a gaping hole there. Who will protect the likes of Scholes and Kigawa when they’re attacking on the ball? Sure, Scholes likes to come deep to receive the ball but he can’t tackle. Giggs is old. Carrick is a superb passer and reads the game well but is too slow for a box to box assignment at the world class level.
Manchester City are firm favourites for the title once again, whether United snap up Moura or not. I just wonder if that money could be better spent elsewhere to help the club’s short term goals. In the long term, Moura could be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, but it seems quite the Robinho-esque risk.
Only time will tell.