Benfica have stepped up their interest in signing Manchester United flop Bebe, it has been claimed.
The Portuguese champions have been on the trail of the 24-year-old for a little while now, and, according to recent speculation from the player's homeland cited by talkSPORT, it now looks like they will pursue a permanent deal believed to be worth in the region of £5.5 million.
Such a move would appear to represent a real commitment from Benfica, with the club only previously thought to be interested in a loan move for the former Estrela da Amadora starlet.
Manchester United flop
While 'flop' is a term that may be bandied around far too readily in the slightly unforgiving and uncompromising world of modern football, it is hard to deny that the term perfectly applies to Bebe's miserable spell at Manchester United.
Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson for £7.4 million following a blistering spell of pre-season form for Vitoria de Guimaraes, the former Portugal U21 winger has completely and utterly failed to register any kind of positive impact at Old Trafford and, as a result, has been sent away for various loan spells with the likes of Besiktas, Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira.
In total, Bebe has made just two Premier league appearances during his four years at Manchester United - both of which came from the substitutes' bench back during the 2010/11 campaign.
Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news
Van Gaal arrival unlikely to save Old Trafford career
The imminent arrival of Louis van Gaal as David Moyes' permanent successor could hand a new lease of life and a new wave of opportunity for many players on the fringes of the first-team setup at Manchester United, yet despite this, it still seems incredibly unlikely that Bebe has any future whatsoever with the club.
With the Red Devils having endured a horrendous 10-month spell under Moyes that saw them drop to seventh in the Premier League, Van Gaal will be under pressure to restore Manchester United back to the top four and this is unlikely to be achieved without continued investment and upgrades across the squad.
A move to Benfica, given their strong showing last season, could be extremely beneficial at this stage of Bebe's career, with manager Jorge Jesus obviously in need of midfield reinforcements with impressive Serb Lazar Markovic believed to be on the verge of completing a transfer to Liverpool.