It’s during your darkest hour that the answer comes in the unlikeliest of places.
Reintegrating Bebe back into the Manchester United team may not sound as appealing as signing one of the host of wingers that the club are being linked with this summer, but this one is just so crazy, that it might actually work.
Bebe has become somewhat of a joke in English football – possibly the most bizarre signing of Sir Alex Ferguson’s dodgy-at-best transfer record. Prior to moving to Manchester United, Bebe’s greatest achievement in football was to represent Portugal at the Homeless World Cup. Portuguese side Vitória de Guimarães signed him in 2010 for free and five weeks later United agreed to pay £7.4m for Bebe. Ferguson had never seen Bebe play, and few Manchester United fans would get to see him in action either.
If his beginning was bizarre, what came next was what you’d expect from a player with such a lack of pedigree – Bebe has only made seven appearance for Man United since joining in 2010 and only two of these have been in the Premier League.
His career thus far has largely been a nomadic one. Following an successful first season in Manchester, the club thought it wise to loan the forward back to Besiktas in order for him to gain more first-team opportunities. Bebe got four.
Bebe again failed to make an impact upon return to Old Trafford and another was deemed necessary in January 2013. This time he made the return to Portugal with marginally more success. His form for Primeira League side Rio Ave was decent, if not spectacular. However, it’s the season that’s just gone in which the winger appears to have made a major leap forward.
Bebe scored 12 goals in his 27 Primeira League appearances for Pacos Ferreira, an impressive tally given that he sometimes started wide on the left. However, his record is even more striking given the context.
Pacos Ferreira’s 2013/14 season was characterised by struggle, and in particular, a struggle for goals. The team only scored 28 in total, meaning Bebe was responsible for more than 40% of the Pacos Ferreira goals. The team finished the season 15th, only avoiding relegation through an end of season play-off, in which Bebe also scored.
This is a newborn Bebe – a Bebe reborn. The forgotten son has done enough to throw off his joke status and should be accepted back into the fold at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese winger has spoken of his desire to play for Manchester United next season and to work his way into Louis van Gaal’s plans. While most Manchester United, and English football fans, may scoff at such remarks, Manchester United could do much worse that Bebe.
I mean, there’s always Ashley Young.