Manchester United and Chelsea are heading for a showdown over transfer target Lucas Silva – Tottenham Hotspur are also tracking the highly rated young Brazilian.
According to the Daily Star, scouts from Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane have all been keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old defensive midfielder and that he would cost in the region of £12million. La Liga clubs Atletico Madrid are also mentioned as possible suitors in a transfer race that could gather pace before the close of the summer transfer window.
Silva currently plies his trade for Cruzeiro in Brazil, but caught the eye playing for Brazil in the Toulon tournament – a competition for international under-20 teams – before being called up to the Brazil Under-21s.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs may all have taken notice when Silva scored the winning goal in Brazil’s 2-1 victory over England at the Toulon tournament, though he has played for Brazil at almost every age group since a schoolboy.
Man Utd issues
Louis van Gaal has just made a crucial signing for the Premier League giants in the form of Argentina international defender Marcos Rojo and few expected him to be the final addition this summer.
Defensive midfield is an area the Red Devils need to reinforce with some new blood, but fans of the club will have been expecting an addition a little bit more experienced and proven than the likes of Silva, however talented he is.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s transfer strategy in the last couple of years would make Silva a typical signing, as the advent of Financial Fair Play (FFP) has forced them to change their recruitment policy.
High-profile and expensive additions such as Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic have been offset with the likes of Kurt Zouma, Marco van Ginkel and Christian Atsu, so Silva would likely be an attractive prospect for the Blues.
Spurs have space
Playing time will likely be a key factor in any decision by Silva and Tottenham may be best placed to make some more substantial assurances. Mauricio Pochettino is under pressure to get the White Hart Lane club back in the Champions League places this season.
The former Southampton boss has an abundance of talent going forward in midfield but does not have quite so many options in the defensive midfield area. Silva’s fellow Brazilian Sandro is probably the first option in that area but he has suffered injury problems in recent seasons, Nabil Bentaleb is promising but inexperienced and Etienne Capoue has not managed to hold down a regular starting place and has had his future in north London questioned.
Being only 21 and never having played in Europe, there would be legitimate concerns over whether Silva would be granted a work permit to complete a transfer to the Premier League.
The report claims that these concerns should be eased by the fact he has represented his country at most youth levels and so could be considered for the ‘special talent’ exception to be granted a permit.