Manchester United Transfer News: Carlos Mane Can Be Best Since Ronaldo

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 3, 2014

Leonardo Jardim won't enjoy the speculation surrounding Carlos Mane's expected departure.
Leonardo Jardim won't enjoy the speculation surrounding Carlos Mane's expected departure.Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Sporting's highly-rated 19-year-old Carlos Mane will be treading a well-worn path if he makes the expected summer move from Portugal to Manchester United.

And comparisons with another to have made the switch won't end there.

According to Rob Shepherd of the Daily Mail, the Portuguese club rate Mane as the best natural talent to emerge since Cristiano Ronaldo

A reported £20 million transfer fee will do little to dispel David Moyes' ardour, given that a reported £200 million war chest will be made available to him for reinforcements during the summer.

Mane only made his professional bow in October last year after shining at B team level, and his full debut against Maritimo didn't come until earlier this year.

If there was anyone asking "Carlos who?," a stunning goal after just 17 minutes surely answered any questions:

It's that sort of finish that makes it easier to understand the hype and excitement surrounding the youngster, but perhaps the moniker of "The New Ronaldo" is a little unfair at this stage

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Mane certainly has the potential to be as good as his countryman, who was signed to the Red Devils at around the same time of his career.

Sir Alex Ferguson was implored to sign the 18-year-old Ronaldo by his playing staff after he had impressed them in a 3-1 win for Sporting, the friendly played to inaugurate the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

And Mane's impact has been much the same.

Moyes' own desire to secure the player is clear, David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News reporting that "the club are set to pull out all the stops to bring him in."

The news won't come as a surprise to Sporting manager Leonardo Jardim, but at such a crucial stage of the Portuguese season, it will certainly disappoint him.

Jardim's side find themselves just five points behind leaders Benfica and can ill-afford to have Mane's head turned as we move into the business end of the season.

In a nod to Cristiano, the fearlessness of youth is already evident in Mane's play as is that same swagger.

Here is a player with just about everything in his locker. And he knows it.

What Manchester United have lacked since the departure of Ronaldo to Real Madrid is a wide man who offers a genuine threat.

With pace to burn and extremely comfortable in possession, Mane works either flank with equal aplomb and scares the hell out of opposition defenders. 

Sir Alex Ferguson's acquisitions of both Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, previous "replacements" for Ronaldo, have only met with a modicum of success, and neither has the skill set of Mane.

In Young's case, he has always found it difficult to force himself into the first XI on a regular basis. It's fair to suggest that after a bright start to his Old Trafford career, he has been a huge disappointment.

Valencia, too, has flattered to deceive.

Beating his man comes easily for the Ecuadorian, but the lack of a quality ball into the box has curtailed his progression in the position.

Mane should perhaps take advice from another of his countrymen, Nani. As FTBPro noted:

Comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo were always going to occur due to their similar style, dribbling ability and to the less insightful fan, the fact they were wingers and came from the same country.

That Nani has also never really fulfilled his potential at Old Trafford is a sign that the ghost of Cristiano still hangs about the place.

Carlos Mane is not a replacement for Ronaldo, but he can bring the glory days back to the Theatre of Dreams.

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