Manchester United last night revealed that they have added an eighth striker to their books with the £7m signature of the 20-year-old Portuguese Bebe, a prodigious talent who has come from nowhere to astonish scouts in his own country and who had been expected to sign for Real Madrid.
Bebe – full name Tiago Manuel Dias Correia – has impressed in pre-season for Vitoria de Guimaraes in Portugal and United's scouts have been so impressed by a player recommended to the club by Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant, Carlos Queiroz, that they have moved quickly. Bebe, who also operates as an offensive midfielder, will have a medical in Manchester this week.
Bebe, who is 6ft 2in, has impressed with his speed, agility and shooting ability. He has graduated from the Portuguese third division, joining Vitoria on a five-year contract just five weeks ago.
Bebe has an intriguing background. Having lived part of his childhood on the streets, he was raised in an orphanage and has represented Portugal in the Homeless World Cup.
Personal terms have been agreed with Bebe, who was born at Cacem, in the Lisbon region. Ferguson is believed to have met the player on Tuesday when he flew to Portugal to act as a witness for Queiroz in a disciplinary case with the Portuguese football federation.
His signing takes United's total summer spending up to around £25m following the arrival of Chris Smalling from Fulham and Javier Hernandez from Chivas de Guadalajara. Ferguson is also interested in the 21-year-old German midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Given United's number of strikers, Bebe could be sent out on loan. Mame Biram Diouf is at Blackburn Rovers, where Sam Allardyce has ideas to play David Dunn behind him, and Danny Welbeck is heading to Sunderland.