Football FanCast guest columnist Dan Jenson doesn't feel that United should enter a bidding war for Douglas Costa.
When Sir Alex suggested that the arrival of Michael Owen had seen United close their business for the summer it was met with a mixed response. Some thought he was taking an unnecessary gamble, especially with the reliability of Owen's fitness, while others hailed the bold move and felt the likes of Macheda and Welbeck deserved their chance. I personally took Fergie's words with a pinch of salt and it only took a few days for Gill to let the cat out of the bag that they may not be the case. 24hrs later the Senegalese striker Diouf was signed and according to reports in the Guardian this morning that a deal for the Brazilian Douglas Costa is trying to be salvaged.
This deal for Costa has been rumbling on for months now with the simple conflict of interest being money and a fair valuation for the 18yr old. Gremio have been playing hardball and demanding an extortionate fee, while United wouldn't contemplate paying it unless he could be brought to the club on a trial basis. In many ways you can't blame the Brazilians as if this Costa is as good as they say then he will be worth every penny of the reported £20m they are after, however at the same time you can understand United's reluctance to pay-out for someone whose talents may not be best suited to the English game. It is a catch.22 all round and it's obvious that a lower fee plus add ons is the wiser move.
It appears that the reason for United's attempts to reignite the deal is that Chelsea and Real Madrid are sniffing around him. Gill mentioned that the reason they signed Diouf was that other clubs entered the bidding therefore it forced their hand to make their move and it makes you wonder whether that is now proving the case with Costa. Obviously this puts Gremio in a far better position as with other clubs enter the bidding they can hold out for more money, but I really believe that United should side on the air of caution here and keep to their original offer as he still represents a massive risk. Over the years European football has had a flux of South Americans arrive being deemed the new Ronaldo's or Maradona's only for them to flatter to deceive. I know that Fergie is shrewd and to be honest our South American arrivals have all look great prospects, but they all arrived at a far lower fee therefore hardly representing much of a gamble. I think the very fact that we already have a young Brazilian contingent at Old Trafford, coupled with the fact we actually give young players an opportunity in the first team compared the other two should play into Costa's thinking when deciding his move. I am sure that Gremio will try and influence his thinking, especially if a rival club was to come in with a higher offer, but I don't think United should alter their stance. The reason they didn't want to pay their asking price without the assurance of bringing him over on trial should still stand as at 18yrs old he does represent a massive risk. I accept that Fergie took a chance on a young Portuguese winger and in the end it paid dividends, but at least Ronaldo had experience of playing in a European league.
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‘Champions’ looks at the very best of fan opinion throughout season 08/09 and gives the reader an insight into the emotions of United supporters as the story of the season unfolds.
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