There was once a time when Manchester United were at the forefront of buying the best young players in the world.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand and David De Gea all came into the club as prodigious talents and went on to become world beaters.
Unfortunately, the football world has changed in the past decade and United haven’t been quite as efficient at picking up wonderkids as they once were.
Now, a former Manchester United scout has suggested that he recommended three Brazilian wonderkids to United, only for the club to miss out on all of them.
In 2016, Sandro Orlandelli returned to England to Manchester United after previously having worked for Arsenal Football Club – leaving behind Arsene Wenger’s side to join José Mourinho in the North West.
Speaking to online publication Premier League Brasil, Orlandelli talks about his time at both Arsenal and United.
While discussing his work at United, the scout suggested that The Red Devils look to sign three Brazilians who were making names for themselves in the Brazilian youth system.
These names were Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Eder Militao.
In the case of Militao, Orlandelli suggests that United could have signed the player on the club when he was leaving São Paulo, shortly before signing with Porto in 2018.
“Militão, for example, was a wonderful opportunity.
“He was finalizing his contract with São Paulo.
“Then people realize.
“Because I remember that he was very undervalued for Porto, with his contract ending.”
From what Orlandelli suggests, Militao’s contract was ending soon so Porto ended up buying the player on a bargain and there was a chance for United to have taken that chance on the player too. Militao ended up joining the Portuguese side for £7.7m, before being sold to Real Madrid for around €50m a year later.
Orlandelli also spoke about the differences he found when he joined United compared to Arsenal.
“A much more technological project, with more production of reports and data.
“Manchester United taught me that you can’t just analyze the data coldly and make a decision.
“It is important that you have a combination of expert experience (…) One thing is data analysis and another thing is the qualitative analysis that only an expert has.
“This unification takes time and takes us to another dimension,” he said.
So it seems that United could have had some Brazilian stars in their side if they had followed the scout’s suggestion. Instead, they’re all plying their trade in Spain.