Manchester United have been linked with at least ten players from Portugal’s top three clubs over the last few months and much of that is down to repeated scouting visits to watch all of them. The club clearly have more than one person working the Portuguese circuit and it’s something of a surprise, given the scouting and links, that a player hasn’t been signed from that country in the last two transfer windows.
A Bola today did a feature on Porto players and where they could be heading… and when. The main two were Manchester City targets Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala, both of those have been linked with Manchester United too but the latter is more likely for a summer move and Pellegrini’s club are pushing themselves into pole position.
Mangala’s partner at Porto, Nicolás Otamendi, has a buyout clause of €30m and he’d be the cheaper of the two. He’s older and an Argentine international, he’ll hope to be able to show what he can do at the World Cup. A Bola say Manchester United could make a move before the end of the window and that Porto would accept a bid close to that clause, in reality they’d probably accept a lot less. The newspaper said on Thursday that these were ‘decisive hours’ in the player’s future.
Otamendi’s contract situation will make Porto more likely to accept a bid, it runs out in June 2015 and if they leave it until after the World Cup then the player would only be a few months away from being able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a team ahead of a free transfer.
Porto won’t allow that to happen, they can’t potentially lose over £20m on a transfer. A Manchester United move before the window closes must surely be unlikely but it’s probable Porto will try to offload Otamendi at the beginning of the summer window rather than after the World Cup.