Manchester United have splashed £7.4m to sign Bebe, a low profile 20-year-old striker from the Portuguese club Vitória de Guimarães. The deal was finalised today, with the player becoming the eighth senior striker on the club’s books.
Bebe was believed to be a potential target for Real Madrid and widely considered to be the next big thing from Portugal but United wasted no time and believed to have paid the buyout clause (around £7.4m) to release Bebe. Bebe a.k.a Tiago Manuel Dias Correia was raised in an orphanage after spending major part of his childhood on the streets.
It is believed that former United assistant coach, Carlos Queiroz, the national coach of Portugal, recommended Bebe to Sir Alex Ferguson, and a deal has been rushed through for Bebe to become the third signing of the summer at Old Trafford. The signing marked the club’s spending spree to around £25m following the arrival of Chris Smalling from Fulham and Javier Hernández from Chivas de Guadalajara, with Ferguson retaining a strong interest in Mesut Ozil, the Germany international.
The United manager made a quick trip to the Craven Cottage only to see Ozil play in a pre-season friendly for Werder Bremen on Saturday and, although he tried to pass it off as watching a Premier League opponents, sources reveal that Sir Alex Ferguson stayed back at the end of the match to talk to officials of the Bundesliga outfit in the boardroom. Yet there remain serious hurdles for United to sign Mesut as the German hot shot has already been followed by cream of European Clubs including Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The signing of Bebe has been pretty much straightforward, with Ferguson understood to have met the player for the first time on Tuesday when he flew to Portugal, principally to be a witness for Queiroz in a disciplinary case with the Portuguese football federation.
Bebe is described as a fast, technically gifted striker, right-footed and strong in the air, measuring 6ft 2ins. He has shown his potential with several goals in pre-season but his signing still represents a major surprise given Ferguson’s recent insistence that he did not want to add to his squad and the player’s low profile in Portuguese football.
Behind the curtains, I believe that Queiroz has convinced Ferguson that Bebe might be the ‘next big thing’ from Portugal who will learn and grow under the special care of Sir Alex Ferguson who is renowned to develop young players into top talents and especially the development of Portuguese players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani in recent past are exemplary. If Bebe makes it to the final squad of 25 of the Premier League newly allotted quota then he will surely provide competition for Wayne Rooney, Hernández, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Federico Macheda, and the two strikers who already moved on loan deals.