Brazilian youngster joins United on loan

Rafael da Silva

AUTHOR: – Doron

It’s a rather odd stage of the season to be signing a player on loan but United have done just that and snapped up a young Brazilian player from Desportivo Brasil on a contract until 30th June.

The player is 17 year old midfielder Rafael Leao. He turns 18 next week, making this loan move possible. He represents the first signs of any United benefits from the partnership that the club has with Desportivo – a partnership that was announced a couple of years ago.

Desportivo themselves are a new club, less that six years old. Traffic Group – a sports management company set up the club with the aim of having a successful youth academy but also attempting to push high up into the Brazilian leagues. United’s partnership with them allows for first-option on hopefully some of the top young talents in Brazil. The agreement would see United pay a set fee for a player based on position not ability and Desportivo hold on to a 50% sell on clause.

Last month, as United beat Bolton, five players from Desportivo were pictured in the directors box – Gladstony, Aguilar, Lucas Evangelista, Agnaldo, and Rafael Leao. They went on to FC Twente in Holland who have also got a partnership with Desportivo to help the young players gain work permits.

Leao is described on Desportivo’s website as simply a defensive midfielder. United fans shouldn’t get too carried away by this loan move – he won’t have a first team squad number and will be playing with the U18s and maybe the Reserves. He is though the first in potentially a long line of Brazilian starlets to come across to United on a contractual deal as opposed to a trial. There are similarities in the dealings with how the Da Silva twins (pictured above) were signed.

What do you think of United’s partnership with Desportivo? Is it morally wrong to be hijacking players so young? Does it raise any concerns about the focus not being on homegrown youth?

AUTHOR: – Doron

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12 Comments on Brazilian youngster joins United on loan

  1. It’s brilliant! Whilst we may not have the financial power of Chelsea, Man City and Real Madrid, this deal helps us compete at the top level.

    It’s like an american football first draft pick.

  2. “The agreement would see United pay a set fee for a player based on position not ability and Desportivo hold on to a 50% sell on clause.”

    That doesn’t really seem a good way to do it if we want this club to improve. It’s also open to abuse. I mean, who determines what position this player is? Is it where Desportivo have played him or what United think they’ll use him for?

    As for 50% sell-on clause… well, it sounds like we’ve already arranged to get these players at a snip anyway, and obviously in theory if we have anyone properly good we’ll be wanting to keep them for ourselves.

  3. Red Ben: If we’re getting those players for buy-to-sell purposes then there’s no benefit to us favouring them over home-grown talent if Desportivo are getting 50% of any of theirs that we flog.

  4. Unless, of course, we’re getting more cash out of half a brazilian than out of selling a youngster we keep all the profit for. But then the concern isn’t so much “This set-up isn’t earning us enough money” as “Oh dear our youth players are a bit shit, aren’t they?” 😛

  5. But what i am saying is, that some of the players that end up coming to us, are actually spotted by our hard working scouts, we identify them, but have to give our info to TRAFFIC so they can sign them, simply because we cannot sign them directly! So they get the benefit of real top players, better than their own spotted talent in their underage teams, then sell to us for what I estimate to be no more than 2M GBP, but retain a huge 50% sell-on clause! I would sooner pay a larger initial fee, say, up to 6-7M pound and own the player outright. Presumably these are top top players who we’ve had years to look at and have had several training periods with us, so i don’t see the ‘Low fee-high sell on clause’ as cutting risks for us, as we presumably only end up buying the top talent.

  6. My biggest concern, to be honest, is that we -need- to consider this buy-to-sell approach to make money. Now, if we were to gain a 50% cut of any youngster sold by Desportivo themselves, then that would be great.

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