As well as the 75,486 paying punters at Old Trafford yesterday there was a surprise guest in the directors box, that man was Shakhtar Donetsk Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa.
The youngster who was being wined and dined yesterday has been a long term target of Sir Alex Ferguson and the rest of the Manchester United hierarchy. In recent weeks there were suggestions that rivals Manchester City had joined the race to sign the attacking talent, but it would now appear that United are again leading the pack.
Costa began his career playing in Brazil for Gremio where he spent two seasons as a youngster, he then made the inevitably move to Europe and signed for Ukrainian giants Shakhtar for a fee of around £5million. In no time at all he has began to look a real talent and it seems highly unlikely that he will remain in one of the worlds smaller leagues for much longer.
He has also performed well at international level, he may not have represented his country at the top level yet, but he has been part of the Brazil Under 20 side for a while, with whom he won the 2009 South American Youth Championships.
The Sunday Mirror today report that the Manchester United hierarchy view Costa as the long term replacement for soon to retire Paul Scholes and that they reckon an offer of around £18million will convince his current club to sell, however other reports suggest that the club will want at least £20million to do a deal. The playmaker who has been likened to Ronaldinho is only 20 and still has a lot to learn but under the right tutelage he could definitely blossom.
Competition for the player will be strong, it would seem realistic that Roberto Mancini might follow up his interest in wanting to take him to Eastlands and there is also thought to be interest from other top clubs in Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that with the right guidance Costa can be a top player and like many other youngsters at Old Trafford, if he follows instruction and perseveres it could be a great step in his career.
His sighting yesterday will just fan the flames under this transfer rumour, but it certainly gives the impression this one could be done and dusted fairly early in the Summer.
For more of my thoughts and speculation, you should probably follow me on twitter @soccercityjoe!
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