I didn't even see videos of Bebe, admits Ferguson

United manager spent £7m on scout's tip alone to sign young Portuguese striker ahead of Real Madrid

He may be perplexed at the transfer business of neighbours Manchester City, but it has not prevented Sir Alex Ferguson from breaking new ground himself in the pursuit of new players. The United manager admitted yesterday that he signed Bebe, who cost £7.4m from Vitoria de Guimaraes, last week without even seeing the player on a DVD.

The striker, 20, had only joined Vitoria from Estrela da Amadora five weeks before that but, in contrast to City's protracted pursuits of James Milner, Yaya Touré and the rest, Ferguson had little choice but to trust in his staff and take the plunge.

Real Madrid and Benfica were both plotting moves for the forward, who grew up on the streets in Portugal, and a week after he first learnt of United's interest, Bebe was completing his move after talks with chief executive David Gill. Ferguson, 68, has been in management since 1974 and with almost a quarter of a century at Old Trafford has signed hundreds of players in a huge variety of circumstances. But the surprise move for Bebe, who joined Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez as Ferguson's only summer additions, was a new one for the United manager.

"I didn't see any videos of him, it's the first time," Ferguson said. "Normally, as in the case of Javier and Chris, I saw plenty of video footage of them. You've got to trust your staff at times and our scout in Portugal was adamant we must do something quickly. So I sent David Gill down there to do the deal.

"You'd have to ask Real how interested they were but I know they were hovering and so were Benfica. So were one or two other clubs and that's where you have to make quick decisions in life and I'm not too bad about that. I also spoke to Carlos Queiroz about him. Sometimes you have to go on an instinct, you look at material. You look at their age and whether they're bringing pace, balance, desire to play and things like that."

Bebe has been training at Carrington for the past few days but if Ferguson remained in any doubt about his new signing's qualities, they were ended with his succinct summary of himself.

"I'm fast, I kick well and I score a lot of goals," Bebe said through a translator. "I feel good. It is an opportunity that has been given to me and now I have to grab it and work very hard. It was only one week from hearing about the interest to signing. I have always wanted to play in a foreign team either United or Chelsea but a team like Man United is a dream come true for any player."

With a summer outlay of around £25m following a similar spend on Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen last summer, Ferguson does not see United's policy of targeting youth changing soon.

He maintains there is money to spend, merely that he is loathe to pay inflated asking prices, 13 months after United received £80m from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo. Ferguson has backed off potential moves for Karim Benzema, Franck Ribéry and David Villa in the past year, while insisting that there is little value around.

"We could have bought one or two players for a lot of money in the summer," he added. "But I didn't necessarily see that they were going to make us really so much better. Take away the money, the players we looked at maybe would not have done what Eric Cantona did for us for instance or Wayne Rooney or Ronaldo did for us. It is one of the important policies at the club that we identify young players who can grow into the club and develop. We have always worked on the age factor. We have several players in their 30s, a few in their mid to late 20s and the rest are all young players who are improving all the time. I feel it is the right policy for Manchester United."

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition