It was a day of milestones at Old Trafford on Saturday. Whilst Paul Scholes was scoring in his 700th game for Manchester United, Ryan Giggs made his 600th Premier League appearance and Rio Ferdinand made his 400th appearance in the red shirt.
All this on the day Sir Alex Ferguson was overseeing his 500th home league game in charge. The 4-0 rout of Wigan fitted the celebratory mood to perfection.
Yet, at some point in the not too distant future, Manchester United are going to need new blood to take on the legacy left by the likes of Scholes and Giggs. The signings of Phil Jones, David de Gea and Chris Smalling in the past couple of seasons show that Ferguson is already preparing for the new generation as he searches for long term replacements by placing trust in youth development.
Another step towards securing a rosy future at Old Trafford has been the decision to set up a link between themselves and Brazilian side Desportivo Brasil. This affiliation has seen the opportunity for several young Brazilian players to come to Manchester United and train on a trial basis, as the club look to scout the world for the best up and coming players.
So far, only Lucas Evangelista has come from Desportivo Brasil to have a trial at Old Trafford, and he is the one who has been pinpointed as a future potential and a player whom Manchester United are looking to secure the services of. According to the Italian press, the club are keen to sign Evangelista, and will offer him a professional contract when he turns 18 next February. Rumours that Manchester United had already taken out this option earlier in the year proved to be premature, but the interest in Evangelista clearly remains
So what do we know about Lucas Evangelista? Well firstly, it is important to understand where he has come from. Desportivo Brasil are, in short, an academy who invest highly in top quality training facilities and train up players under the age of 20 before offloading them to larger clubs. The deal arranged between Manchester United involves United getting first option on any of these players for a set-price should they believe he has the potential to make it in the Premier League, saving the club on scouting costs and transfer fees.
As for Lucas Evangelista himself, he is a versatile 17 year old midfielder who is highly regarded in Brazil. This reputation shouldn’t be taken lightly considering Brazil’s continuous ability to produce top quality football stars. Having began his career in Sao Paolo at just 11, he joined up with Desportivo Brasil at the age of 14, where he remains today. He describes himself as a very intelligent player with plenty of pace, and has recently been linked with a trial period at Belgian side Anderlecht, although Manchester United continue to have first option if they so wish.
With knowledge of his ability limited, it is tough to pass comment on whether he can make it on such a large stage as Old Trafford. But Sir Alex Ferguson rarely gets these kind of decisions wrong and since he is on Fergie’s radar, he is definitely a player worth keeping an eye out for.