Portuguese newspaper O Jogo has a story today telling how Manchester United and Barcelona have missed the chance to sign Pedro Neto from Braga.
The 17-year-old made visits to the training centres of both Manchester United and Barcelona, but ended up signing a new contract with the Portuguese side, which now runs until 2020.
Barcelona followed the player for five months, and right when Manchester United got into the battle, Braga president Antonio Salvador was quick to move to convince Neto to stay.
Neto’s father has spoken to O Jogo and said: “Sportingly, the conditions presented by Barcelona and Manchester United were encouraging, but financially we didn’t even hear the offers, because the president of Braga has been here for several years and hurried up.
“He approached me and convinced us all that the best thing for my son would be to continue in Braga. At Braga he can leave as a more valued player.”
The youngster made his first team debut this season, and the 18 league minutes were enough for him to score his first career goal.
Antonio Salvador has also spoken to O Jogo to explain how they fought off Manchester United and Barcelona: “Neto is a player who was lost to Braga, he was practically out of our country.
“Barcelona and big English clubs were on him. I spent many hours with his family to make them realise that the best thing for Neto was to make a career at Braga. The parents and the kid are to be congratulated because they gave a full proof of their quality.”
O Jogo reports that even Arsenal joined the race, with the player being chosen by club scout Luis Boa Morte, but the interest didn’t get very far.
Jose Mourinho has upped Manchester United’s scouting in Portugal to the point that it’s a surprise when the club don’t have someone at a game. Pedro Neto’s progress at Braga will be followed closely.