Manchester United were well aware of both James Rodriguez and Douglas Costa as teenagers but decided against signing either of them, a former Red Devils scout has revealed.
Sir Alex Ferguson considered Costa to be one of the biggest talents in South America and sent scouts to Brazil to keep tabs on him. Marcelo Teixeira was one of the scouts tracking the forward and he admits Rodriguez was also on Manchester United's radar.
Rodriguez was making his way through the ranks at Argentina outfit Banfield and Teixeira admits his colleague Jose Mayorga rated the Colombian very highly. However, Manchester United coaches believed Rodriguez was too weak and slow to survive in the Premier League.
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“Jose Mayorga [United's man in Argentina] loved James,” Teixeira told FourFourTwo.
“He had always included his name in his files, but the evaluation was that his profile didn’t suit the Premier League.
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"Basically, he hadn't got the speed required for English football. The chief scout [Jim Lawlor] regarded Maylson [now playing for Brazilian minor sides] higher than Douglas Costa and James.”
Turning down the chance to bring Rodriguez to the Premier League has turned out to be a massive mistake for Manchester United. He is now one of the world's most expensive players after moving to Real Madrid last summer for £71 million.
That fee was the result of a staggering World Cup campaign that saw the 23-year-old take home the golden boot.
Similarly, Costa is also a familiar name on the European stage even though he has yet to ply his trade in a major league. He is currently with Shakhtar Donetsk but has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea in recent weeks.
"I think that I'd be able to achieve everything I want having someone like Jose Mourinho by my side"
The same FourFourTwo report claims Chelsea had an offer of around €20m rejected last summer with Shakhtar looking for something much closer to his €50m release clause. Jose Mourinho has a growing Brazilian contingent at Stamford Bridge so it is no surprise Costa himself has openly admitted a desire to join the club.
"I'd be really interested in moving to Chelsea – not only because everything Willian tells me about the club, but because I think that I'd be able to achieve everything I want having someone like Jose Mourinho by my side," Costa told FourFourTwo.