After impressing for most of the tournament, Joao Moutinho’s finale in Euro 2012 was missing in the penalty shootout against Spain. The FC Porto midfielder shouldn’t be too down as it turns out, with Manchester United and Alex Ferguson reported to be chasing the 25 year old.
Moutinho was projected to make a big move years ago, when he was a talented teenager in the Sporting academy. Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani also came out through the same youth ranks, moving straight to Manchester United. Moutinho was sick of missing out on titles, finishing behind Benfica and Porto, completing a €11 million transfer to the north of Portugal, leaving on very bad teams with the club he played for since he was 13.
In Porto, Moutinho’s ability in the middle of the park, both as a creative player and in the more solid and dirty roles have helped the club regain the top spot in the country, winning two league titles and the Europa League in 2011. In 96 appearances for the club, Moutinho has scored 5 goals and added 16 assists. His performances for Portugal in the Euro were bound to attract some attention from big clubs, if he wasn’t shortlisted already.
The reports claim that Manchester United, already quite active in the transfer market this summer with the signings of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra, have approached Porto in recent days, offering to purchase Moutinho, who 12.5% of his economic rights belong to a third party.
The expected price? At least €20 million, probably closer to €25 million. Ferguson is looking for a high-caliber midfielder to finally end the roulette wheel he had in the middle of the park last season, especially after Tom Cleverley went down to injury early in the season. Paul Scholes came out of retirement, but Ferguson knows that any kind of combination with Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Anderson and Fletcher just isn’t going to be enough in the Premier League and the Champions League.
Moutinho, who has been capped 48 times for the national side, isn’t United’s only midfield target, with Daniele De Rossi and Luka Modric also reported to be on the shortlist. The price of Modric will probably mean he won’t be leaving Tottenham for a spot at Old Trafford, while De Rossi, despite being a cheaper transfer, is the highest paid Italian player in the Serie A. Moutinho, also because of his age and also because of his ability and price range, would make a better signing.