Manchester United have been on a spending spree since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as a manager in 2013. The club are close to spending an astonishing £500 million in almost 4 seasons, that’s almost £100 million each year on transfer fees alone. The club do not appear to be done with their purchases, they have been chasing £50 million-rated Kostas Manolas and £40 million-rated Victor Lindelof. These are highly talented youngsters, but substantially older when compared with United’s latest transfer target – Vinicius Junior.
The Red Devils are keen on landing the Brazilian sensation, who has been seen as the ‘next Neymar’, The Express reports. Aged just 16, Vinicius Junior plays for the Flamengo under 19 team. It is common for highly talented Brazilian youngsters to be dubbed as the ‘next Neymar’ or even the ‘next Pele’. Even though very few players have gone on to convert talent and potential into real-world statistics, Vinicius Junior is already being monitored by several clubs to suggest that he may be closer to the next big thing from Brazil.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and the Spanish giants – Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly keen on the player. Flamengo will be feeling quietly confident about making a sizeable profit on the teenager. His contract runs out in the summer of 2019, thus leaving the club with plenty of time to negotiate a new deal. Interested clubs, however, can also activate the £26 million release clause in his contract.
Vinicius Junior plays as the centre-forward for Flamengo, but he can also feature on the left and right wings. Yet to appear for any Brazilian youth national team, it may be extremely difficult for Vinicius Junior to get a work permit to play in England straightaway. This could be one of the potential stumbling blocks for Premier League teams, whereas Spanish opponents can straightaway look to seal the deal without much trouble.
Flamengo president Kleber Leite claimed that preference would be given to clubs who are willing to pay a significant amount of money upfront. He said, Via The Express:
“[Club’s general director Luz] told me that he was contacted a while ago by a representative of Manchester United, who wanted to discuss the possibility of them having priority for a transfer.
“The talks didn’t get far, because Fred Luz told them plainly that future discussions would depend on the immediate payment of a sum that would give them priority among offers of equal value.”
Vinicius Junior caught the eye of elite European clubs during the recent U20 tournament in Brazil, where he notched four goals and five assists in just six outings.