VIDEO: Hey Bebé – United announce new arrival
Posted by nickogs20 on August 12, 2010
Manchester United have sprung a major transfer surprise by announcing the acquisition of Portuguese 20 year-old Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, better known as Bebé, from Vitória de Guimarães for a fee of £7.4m (€9m).
As first revealed by The Guardian‘s Daniel Taylor and swiftly confirmed by the club’s official website, the two clubs have agreed a fee and the relatively unknown youngster has finalised personal terms, with the move expected to be ratified on Friday pending the completion of a successful medical.
While neither club has officially confirmed the transfer fee, United are thought to have paid the €9m release fee in Bebé’s contract with Vitória, a pact only recently signed after a summer move from third tier side Estrela de Amadora. He is expected to put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Old Trafford, where he will become the eighth senior striker on the Reds’ books.
The move to Manchester is the latest chapter in what fast looks to be becoming a fairytale story for the 20 year-old. Born in Agualva-Cacém, close to the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Bebé (unsurprisingly translated as ‘Baby’, a nickname given from a young age by the player’s elder brother) was raised by Cape Verdean parents – heritage he shares with compatriot and new team-mate Nani – until the age of ten, when financial hardship forced him into residence at an orphanage, the Casa do Gaiato de Santo Antão do Tojal in the nearby town of Loures (where he is now seen as an idol and still regularly stays when in the area).
It was in Loures, and with the town’s junior side, that Bebé’s potential was first spotted by Estrela de Amadora, then a small top-flight club from the Lisbon suburbs. There he progressed through the youth ranks, earning a call-up to the Portuguese Under-19 setup, and when Estrela were punished for serious financial irregularities with relegation to the Portuguese Second Division Série Sul (third tier) in the summer of 2009, Bebé was handed his chance.
After scoring four times in 26 appearances and impressing in his first season in senior football, Vitória swooped in June when Estrela’s ongoing financial problems left them unable to continue paying Bebé’s wages. Although still very much an unknown quantity, five goals in six pre-season games (including what was described as an “excellent individual goal” in a 4-0 win over Braganca on Saturday) brought the young attacker to the attention of a wider audience, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid rumoured to be showing interest – indeed, the Spanish sports paper Marca, commonly regarded to be the mouthpiece of Real Madrid, featured Bebé on their front page just yesterday.
That was before United swooped however, with news breaking late last night that the Reds had beaten several of their European rivals to the punch, apparently on the recommendation of former assistant coach Carlos Queiroz. Vitória president Emilio Macedo confirmed that the Guimarães club has received several offers, with the team’s official site stating “It should be noted that Vitória has received proposals from four major European clubs in recent days. However, Bebé had the freedom to make his own choice and has opted for the British giants”.
Macedo has also stated that the transfer of Bebé has enhanced relations between the two clubs, in his words “facilitating the loan of a player” at some point in the future – who this may be is open to speculation, with possibilities perhaps including Fábio da Silva, Rodrigo Possebon or maybe even Bebé himself. The new signing has so far had little to say on his big move, only telling Portuguese publication A Bola “It is a dream for any player to go to Manchester United“.
So what sort of player are United getting? Given that his only competitive club matches thus far have come with Estrela de Amadora, the view of his coach there, Jorge Paixao, has to be first port of call (thanks to PortuGOAL.net). “He’s a player who is the fruit of street football,” Paixao told Portuguese radio station Antena 1. “Nowadays players are schooled in the clubs, but he has none of this. He’s an old-school player. He learned to play in the street and has that natural creativity, an irreverence, and that makes all the difference. He improvises very well, because he has quality, and he has a set of characteristics that are difficult to find in a single footballer: he’s tall, he’s good in the air, he’s technically gifted and he’s very fast.”
That United’s official site describes Bebé as a striker is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the deal – even moreso than how under-the-radar it was. Sir Alex Ferguson already has a posse of young forwards in the form of Mame Biram Diouf (22 years old), Javier Hernández (22), Danny Welbeck (19) and Federico Macheda (18), as well as the promising Joshua King and Will Keane in the youth ranks. When you factor in the experienced trio of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen, things look more than a little crowded in attack, even with Diouf and Welbeck set to spend the season out on loan.
Other sources have referred to Bebé as an attacking midfielder, or even a winger, which would make more sense, especially given the Reds’ apparent interest in (and some may say need for) players in those positions – notably Werder Bremen’s Mesut Özil of late. The young Portuguese is certainly an intriguing addition to the squad, and it should be very interesting to see how he fits into Sir Alex’s plans.
To give you a taster of our new signing, below is a compilation of Bebé in pre-season action for Vitória: