Looking at Lucas Moura’s Potential Move to Manchester United

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Lucas Moura
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura reacts at the end of the French L1 football match between Angers (SCO) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Raymond Kopa Stadium in Angers, on November 4, 2017. PSG won the match 5-0. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Lucas Moura has reportedly turned up as a transfer target for José Mourinho’s Manchester United side. The Red Devils are looking to add to their ranks with the transfer of the Paris Saint-Germain player, who is reportedly set to cost them between £25 and 35 million. Other rumours report that he could be signed on a temporary deal until the end of the season. But while rumours are still being spread, here are the potential positives and negatives that a possible deal may bring.

Looking at Lucas Moura’s Potential Move to Manchester United

The Situation

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2012 from São Paulo and has been part of the club’s most successful era. A quick, agile winger, he enjoyed a stellar career early on, but he has failed to improve significantly since he signed as a 19-year-old. Now 25, Lucas has been on the fringes of the club for a few months, with PSG having broken the world transfer record to sign his compatriot Neymar. And in addition to that, the signing of Kylian Mbappe hasn’t helped either, as he has gone down the pecking order – with Ángel Di María and Javier Pastore preferred ahead of him.

The winger has accumulated just 72 league minutes for the Ligue 1 leaders, and that hasn’t helped his development. PSG are also willing to sell to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, and there are plenty of potential suitors for him as a result. United, however, seem to be open to the option of a loan move, and this would make sense for them. A player that has struggled to really light up the European scene could regain confidence in a temporary deal, and then potentially make a permanent move in the summer. But with PSG having until June 30 to comply with FFP rules, a loan move is unlikely.

Positives From the Deal

Manchester United have lacked a natural winger, and that has often hindered them this season. Much of their attacking play on the wings have been done by the full-backs, and Antonio Valencia has performed that task wonderfully again this season. The addition of Lucas could give them that much-needed threat, with his speed and dribbling being a constant cause of trouble. He’s also a fine crosser of the ball, and with the height available to José Mourinho from his squad, he would be an apt addition to the team.

At his best, he could form a partnership that could prove to be difficult to deal with alongside Valencia. United lack a strong right-footed player, and he fits the billing in that category too. He would also fit Mourinho’s team well. With his ability to stay wide and attract defenders and challenges, he could easily create space for the rest of the team to exploit, and United have a few on their ranks who could do that job perfectly including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, amongst others.

Manchester United have been known to take risks with transfers ever since Mourinho arrived, and that could happen here again. It started with Eric Bailly in 2016, and continued with Nemanja Matić in 2017, so if the manager feels he the player can improve the club and be improved himself, this could be a fine move. Whether it’s a permanent transfer for a low fee (relative to the current market), or a loan move, this is a low-risk deal, with little pressure on the player.

Negatives From the Deal

His qualities are clear to see, and although he hasn’t been able to replicate that recently, a look at his earlier days provide an indication of the hazard he can create. However, while he is a decent footballer, his negative aspects often outweigh the positive ones, and that is what puts many suitors off. Firstly, and most importantly, he hasn’t developed in the way that was expected of him. When he was signed as a 19-year-old for a hefty £38 million, it was thought that by now, he would become one of the most feared players in Europe, but he is a far cry of that. Frequently replaced and so inconsistent, he’s not even a common member of the first-team.

A player like that is not what Manchester United need at this point of the season. Sure, he adds depth, but why take the risk if he has a history of inconsistency? José Mourinho already has several players like him in the side – Henrikh Mkhitaryan being one of them – and a purchase of such a player is not going to help them at this stage of the season. Players lacking confidence have plagued the squad this season, and that has been evident. Bringing in another one can’t do much good for them.

Would it be Right?

On the face of it, no. Lucas Moura may not help significantly improve this team and there are better options out there. United were in the hunt for Ivan Perišić in the summer, and a player with similar qualities to him would be suited. Someone who is a serious counter-attacking threat, or a defensively aware winger would be more preferred and only that could do United well. They’ve been linked to the likes of Malcom, Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Lemar in the past, and while they will cost more, it is what they need to do if they want to be better.

The longer this stretches on, the more likely it is that they won’t get in on Lucas, because PSG are likely to sell to the first bidder. The player is a mixed bag – has the qualities, the desire, the willingness and the circumstances, but his history and lack of consistency raises question marks. Although coming at a low fee, he may be worth the risk, but he isn’t necessarily going to be a solution for Manchester United’s problems.

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