Man Utd step up interest in Portuguese starlet as City eye bid

Manchester United have reportedly stepped up their pursuit of Sporting Lisbon wonder-kid Rafael Leao.

The 18-year-old has been the subject of plenty of interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs this season, with runaway Premier League leaders Man City thought to be at the front of the queue for a player who is also a target for Real Madrid.

Leao has only made four appearances for Sporting but word has spread throughout Europe that he is a special talent and scouts have been flocking to Lisbon, according to the report in the Sunday Mirror.

Indeed, every top six Premier League club was said to have had a scout present as Leao scored for Sporting in a 2-1 defeat to FC Porto last week.


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Real representatives were also at the game but United still have strong links with Sporting, going back to when they bought Cristiano Ronaldo in a £12.5million deal in 2003, and Jose Mourinho is said to have advised transfer negotiator Ed Woodward that an early move for Leao would make economic sense.

For their part, Sporting have so far rejected any interest from the player but may be willing to do a deal with United due to the good relations between the two clubs.