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Manchester United

Transfer Scouting Report: Joao Moutinho

Manchester United have reportedly tabled an offer for Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho believed to be worth around £20-25 million. Whilst Tottenham’s newly appointed boss, Andre Villas Boas, Is also rumoured to be interested in the Portuguese international.

The playmaker is considered one of the brightest prospects in world football and has been strongly linked with a move away from his current club this transfer window.

The news regarding a possible move comes at the same time that Tottenham star Luka Modric has reportedly agreed to terms with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Modric was considered one of United’s main targets over the summer, but with Spurs asking price around £40 million for the Croatian star, a move to Old Trafford became an increasingly unlikely outcome.

Moutinho would be the Red Devils’ second big signing of the summer and would no doubt be an excellent addition to the United squad.

The playmaker is wanted by Spurs, ironically, to replace Luka Modric. Porto have indicated they be willing to sell if Tottenham offer in excess of £20 million.

The north Londoners hope to receive at least £30 million from Real Madrid for Modric and haven’t ruled out the possibility of asking the Spanish giants for one of Nuri Sahin or Esteban Granero as well – but Moutinho remains Villas-Boas’ priority.

The 25-year-old was impressive at Euro 2012 as Portugal progressed to the semi-final and is seen as an obtainable and like-for-like replacement for the Croatian schemer.

Spurs have recently announced that Luis Martins will join the club as first team coach. Significantly, Martins worked with a young Joao Moutinho at Sporting Lisbon and could be a big factor in persuading the playmaker to become Tottenham’s third major signing of the summer.

Since joining Porto in July 2010, Moutinho has made 56 appearances for the club, scoring 3 goals. Since his transfer from rival club Sporting Lisbon, Porto have experienced success in various competitions, including two domestic first division titles and the UEFA cup.

Why United need Moutinho

Sir Alex Ferguson has been in the market for a new innovative midfield general for a number of years now as a potential long-term replacement for the evergreen Paul Scholes. Despite the veteran agreeing to play for another year, surely now must be the time to sign his successor whilst Scholes is still present.

With Luka Modric too expensive, Lucas Moura too raw and interest in Wesley Sneijder cooled off, Moutinho looks like an excellent option. The Porto man will have been on most big European clubs’ radars for some time, but his quality was certainly evident and reconfirmed this summer. The ex-Sporting Lisbon man showed a tenacity and work-rate for his country that will have appealed to Red Devils fans, whilst also more often than not being the creator for Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances and goals.

At 25-years-old Moutinho is ready for the step up, and a gradual introduction to the United first-team with Scholes in attendance to guide him seems sensible.

Why Tottenham need Moutinho

It will certainly be a busy summer for Tottenham, with new faces and player sales expected. The exit of Harry Redknapp has led to Andre Villas Boas’ appointment, and Icelandic attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has been added to the squad already also.

However, this summer may finally be the time that Spurs fans have to say goodbye to main man Luka Modric. With the north London outfit missing out on Champions League football for a second consecutive season the Croatian star looks likely to leave, with Real Madrid ready to pounce.

Modric’s exit would leave a sizeable creative hole in the centre of the park, with Moutinho the perfect player to fill it. The Portuguese midfielder’s qualities and stature are similar to that of the man he would be replacing, even if Modric does have a slight creative edge. However, if Villas Boas can convince his former Porto charge to swap the Estadio do Dragao for White Hart Lane, the blow of Modric’s departure would certainly be lessened.

At a more affordable price than equivalent players on the market, Sir Alex taking an interest and the Villas Boas link, the battle for Moutinho’s signature this summer could be an interesting one.