Manchester United have missed out on £25m Brazil wonderkid Vitor Roque with the striker’s agent confirming his long-awaited move to FC Barcelona.
Just last week, Barca winger and Selecao star Raphinha urged the La Liga champions not to let such an opportunity slip through their grasp.
Vitor Roque had been in talks over a move to the Camp Nou for a number of months. But with nothing signed – and with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and PSG all making last-ditch attempts to hijack the deal (Mundo Deportivo) – Raphinha was not the only one fearing that Barcelona would be made to pay for failing to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.
The former Leeds star will have been breathing a sigh of relief, then, with Roque’s agent finally confirming that his client will be wearing the iconic blue-and-red kit in 2022/23.
Brazil striker Vitor Roque is heading to Barcelona
“But Vitor always had his head turned to Barcelona.
“He wanted to follow the Brazilians who passed through Barcelona; Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, who were the best in the world there. And Neymar, who was not the best in the world, but was in the top three and was champion in the Champions League.
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“I had been talking to Deco (Barca’s sporting director) for a year. And we have now implemented (the deal). We chose the best project for Vitor Roque to be among the best in the world.
“I would like to thank Barcelona, the president, Xavi, everyone for their trust. They got it right. They’re going to have a very high-level player for the next few years.”
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Manchester United are scouring the market for a more affordable centre-forward after accepting defeat in their pursuit of Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen. Roque perhaps falls into Erik ten Hag’s list of ‘second-tier’ candidates, alongside Randal Kolo Muani and (the most likely addition) Rasmus Hojlund.
Roque has scored 15 goals in 30 games for Athletico Paranaense this season. Still only 18, he made his senior Brazil debut recently too after firing the Selecao to glory at the U20 South American Championships.
“I worked at Barcelona” adds Cury, a former Camp Nou scout. “And, since 2018, I had been talking about Vitor Roque.
“Close to 2019, (Eric) Abidal, who worked as Barcelona’s technical secretariat, came to Brazil to watch a Vitor Roque game. It was the first time that Barcelona had contact with him.
“Barcelona saw in Vitor what Cruzeiro saw six years ago. What Athletico saw a year ago. What the national team saw three months ago.”