Lucas Moura: Why the Brazilian Is Worth His Huge Transfer Fee for Man United

Terry CarrollContributor IIIJuly 23, 2012

Lucas Moura: Why the Brazilian Is Worth His Huge Transfer Fee for Man United

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    Sir Alex Ferguson is still looking for the next Cristiano Ronaldo.

    No, Lucas Moura is not Cristiano; nor is Bebe. Cristiano wasn't the new George Best. But he was good enough.

    When you are one of the greatest football managers the game has ever known, you have a right to covet the best players in the game.

    When you have lived as long as Sir Alex—and have seen the talent he has seen, and managed some of it—then you are entitled to lust after the next great player.

    Ronaldo was a game-changer. He was better than Besty in so many ways, but one thing they had in common was their selfishness. When they had the ball, they just wanted to run and score.

    This is the one criticism that has been levelled at "Lucas" (as we shall call Lucas Moura, because everyone knows he's not Lucas Leiva).

    He has many great qualities, but he can be selfish in the way that great players are, and that is sometimes resented by teammates.

    Neymar has the same characteristic, and so did the previous great Ronaldo in his early years. Ronaldinho had it so badly that he wanted to show off all his tricks as well.

    And that's when you ask yourself whether football takes itself too seriously?

    Of course it's about money, because there is so much money at stake. West Ham and Southampton could get over £60 million in TV money this season. 

    That money can buy success (even if relative), and it can certainly buy survival. Which is why the Scottish teams that voted Rangers out of the SPL may be taking a long hard look at themselves at the end of the season—and at how many of them did not survive.

    But George Best was a player that you would pay money to go and see. He could make the Old Trafford gasp with one touch, one feint, one dribble.

    Cristiano Ronaldo had such qualities even as an 18-year-old when United played against Sporting Lisbon in the preseason of 2003. 

    At that time, he had played just 25 times for Sporting, but he had not played for his country. Lucas Moura has played 59 times for Sao Paolo at 19 and 15 times for Brazil. 

You'd Pay Money to Watch Him

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    This video, made six months ago, shows that Lucas Moura was already better than Nani (who's 25).

    If Manchester United got Lucas for £26 million (as the Mirror says) and sold Nani for £25 million, wouldn't that be good business?

    But then, you could keep them both...

Speed Demon

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    Chicharito has blistering pace, as the 2010 World Cup showed.

    But he can't do half of what Lucas Moura can do in this video. 

    To be able to run at pace and dribble as if the ball was tied to his boot—Best could do that, but only for short bursts. Lucas can do it for half a soccer pitch and score at the end of it.

    A mixture of Ronaldo's pace, Giggs' ball skills and Scholes' shooting ability...

    How can you be this good at 19?

More Like Ronaldo Than Ronaldo

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    This is the player that Lucas most reminds me of: the real Ronaldo.

    Unfortunately, many of these clips are of an older, heavier Ronaldo. The other obvious aspect is that he was four inches taller and played as a No. 9.

    But this may be part of the reason why Sir Alex Ferguson wants him. Ronaldo left the pitch to a standing ovation when Real Madrid came to Old Trafford in the 2003 Champions League.

    Sir Alex will never forget that night, and nor will I. He may have been toward the end of a sadly shortened career at the top, but how could you not covet skills like that?

    As Sir Alex showed with the young pretender Cristiano Ronaldo, the Scottish knight has the capability to take a raw talent and help make him truly great. Just look at Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

    So what you get with Lucas is dazzling ball skill at pace, the ability to play out wide, through the middle or even up top.

    After all, Romario was only 5'7".

    Ronaldo debuted for Cruzeiro at 16 and Brazil at 17. Lucas debuted for Sao Paolo at 17 and Brazil at 18. But at 19, he already has more caps for his country than Ronaldo at the same age.

Scoring Goals

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    The clips we've shared so far show plenty of goals by Lucas, but how many times could you watch this one?

    Seems to me, he can score any of the goals Aguero can score, but can Kun do this?

    (Oh, and don't miss the stunning trick at the end...)

    In 59 appearances for Sao Paolo, he has scored 14 goals. 

    Sir Alex Ferguson has bemoaned the lack of goals from midfield for years. He has bought Kagawa, who can play attacking midfield or No. 10 as Paul Scholes did.

    Shinji has 21 goals in 49 appearances for Dortmund and 11 in 33 for Japan.

    Put Lucas and Kagawa anywhere near the box, and those stats will change.

Mesmerising Defenders

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    How do you beat Stoke City's packed defence?

    How do you beat Newcastle United on a wet Monday evening at St James' Park?

    This is how.

    Of course, he will get bulked up and taught to defend, but what he would be there for is to beat defenders, make goals and score goals.

    The one great quality that Cristiano had was that he was always an "out." You could give the ball to him, and he could hold it up, dribble with it, make chances out of nothing and score goals at the drop of a hat.

    Lucas can do all those things and give us loads of entertainment on a rainy night in Newcastle.

Creating Chances

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    Be honest. 

    You can't help watching this kid. Even when you've seen the same runs, the same moves, the same tricks and flicks and the same goals, over and over.

    Now imagine you're watching him at Old Trafford this season...stop drooling.

    Or be seriously scared if you're not a Manchester United supporter.

    I remember the first time I knew City were potential title winners last season. It was Sergio Aguero's debut. We already knew he was a great talent, but could he hack it in the English game? 

    He sure could, and the rest is history.

    So the question will remain until and unless Lucas is signed. Is he another Veron or Kleberson? Or is he like David Silva or Kun? 

    If he's the latter, your winter nights would be lit up forever.

    The one question mark that has been leveled at him is whether he's too greedy? Whether there's enough end product?

    This video shows that he creates, as well as makes, takes and wastes chances. How many do you need in a match?

But Which Future Superstar Should You Buy?

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    Lucas, Neymar, Ganso, Oscar or Gotze? (And no doubt there's a load of other names you could put forward.)

    First, let's be clear. Ganso is very different from Lucas. He is Michael Carrick to Ryan Giggs. The one with time and composure on the ball, ready to pick the incisive pass; the other like a buzzing bee, turning defenders inside out.

    Ganso is Modric. Lucas is Neymar. Why can't we have both Lucas and Ganso?

    The above video compares Neymar to Lucas. Not entirely different in some ways, each unique in others.

    Having watched both for Brazil against Team GB, I just favour Lucas. (Ganso also stood out, and Tom Cleverly shaped up well for the home side).

    To me, he looks like he might turn out to be another Ronaldinho. His play-acting at Middlesborough was utterly pathetic and rightly booed by a crowd who wanted his playmaking instead.

    Surely Lucas is a steal at half that price?