“Everything was agreed” – Tottenham’s Lucas Moura explains how close he came to joining Manchester United
The Brazilian winger kicked off his senior career with hometown team Sao Paulo, making more than 100 appearances and scoring in their 2012 Copa Sudamericana Final success over Tigre, before European interest in his services cranked up.
Manchester United and Inter Milan were both strongly linked with a move for the midfielder, but a last-gasp approach from PSG persuaded Lucas to join the cash-rich French club, where he went on to lift four Ligue 1 titles and seven domestic cups.
He admits, though, that he was poised to ink a deal with the Red Devils, telling FourFourTwo in our April 2019 issue: “Representatives of Inter were in talks with Sao Paulo, but Manchester United were the ones I came very close to joining.
“Everything was agreed, but then there was a last-minute call from Leonardo [PSG’s director of football at the time], who told me about this ambitious new project. PSG were buying top-quality players and there were a few other Brazilians involved, too.
“So I chose PSG, mainly because I thought the adaptation would be easier alongside many of my compatriots.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I spent five great years in Paris and developed as a player and a human being. I will always be grateful to PSG.”
Manchester United were possible suitors again in January 2018 when it became clear that Lucas’s Parc des Princes days were numbered, having topped 200 appearances for Les Parisiens.
Yet it was Spurs who eventually sealed a £25 million deal for the Brazil international, who quickly made up his mind after one meeting with manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“As far as I know United wanted a loan deal,” continues Lucas. “Then Spurs offered a permanent contract, which was key because I wanted my future to be clear.
“Signing for Tottenham was a great gift for me, a wonderful moment of my career. As soon as I heard about their interest, I was really anxious to join the club.
“I’ll never forget the day I came to the training ground for the first time to talk to Mauricio Pochettino about the move. By the time I left, I knew I wanted to be in that team.”
Read the full interview with Lucas in the April 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which also features exclusive chats with Virgil van Dijk, Ander Herrera and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Plus, we hail some of the greatest centre-backs of all time, watch the East End team made up entirely of Brazilians, go One-on-One with Dion Dublin and head to Thessaloniki to watch a table-topping bout between PAOK and Olympiakos.