Manchester United are among a number of top European clubs keeping tabs on Flamengo youngster Vinícius Junior – and have already been rebuffed in one attempt to secure first option on any eventual transfer.
The 16-year-old is seen as the Rio de Janeiro club's brightest young talent and has been one of the standout players at the Copinha U20 tournament – Brazil's annual junior football showcase – since the turn of the year, scoring four goals and laying on five more in six matches.
The Spanish press have credited Barcelona and Arsenal with an interest in the forward, who has a €30million buyout clause in his contract. But according to a former Flamengo president, the Red Devils have made the most concrete approach thus far.
Kleber Leite remains close to key figures at Flamengo and says that the club's general director, Fred Luz, informed him of an approach from the Red Devils. Unfortunately for United, it appears to have been given short shrift.
"[Luz] told me that he was contacted a while ago by a representative of Manchester United, who wanted to discuss the possibility of them having priority for a transfer," Leite said.
"The talks didn't get far, because Fred Luz told them plainly that future discussions would depend on the immediate payment of a sum that would give them priority among offers of equal value. At that point, the Englishman, who thought it was going to be a piece of cake, left and didn't return."
Vinícius is viewed as an important asset by Flamengo, who have made plans to incorporate him and other youngsters into the first team set-up in the months ahead. The Rubro-Negro will hope that he follows in the footsteps of Neymar, Casemiro, Oscar, Lucas Moura and Marquinhos, all of whom have enjoyed success at senior level after shining at the Copinha.
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