Raphinha is urging Barcelona to complete the signing of Vitor Roque as Premier League giants Manchester United sniff around the Athletico Paranaense.
It’s fair to say the Red Devils have a history of Camp Nou ‘smash and grabs’.
And while snatching Vitor Roque from under the noses of Barcelona would not change the very face of Manchester United – unlike when Ole Gunner Solskjaer stuck out his boot at the far post all those years ago in Catalonia – it would still be a major statement of intent from a club who have not yet given up on Brazil’s latest Samba starlet.
Barcelona have already agreed a £30 million deal in principle with Athletico Parananese. That has not stopped Manchester United from attempting to hi-jack the transfer at the eleventh hour, however; Mundo Deportivo reporting that Erik ten Hag’s side have contacted Roque’s camp in an attempt to change the 18-year-old’s mind.
No wonder fellow Brazilian Raphinha is urging Barcelona to pick their feet up.
Manchester United hope to beat Barcelona to Vitor Roque
“I hope he is my team-mate at Barcelona,” the former Leeds forward tells Sport. “With Vitor Roque, we’re talking about a high-quality footballer, who is showing in Brazil why Barcelona thinks (so highly) of him.
“A great footballer like he is with a great future, who has a lot to give. I think he can go a long way in world football.”
Roque has scored 15 goals in 29 games during an outstanding start to the new Brazilian league season, and was recently rewarded with a first ever Selecao cap before the age of 19.
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“A born centre-forward. Vitor Roque, due to his age, has this feature of being much more mobile. This is very important, not only for him but for the team,” Raphinha adds.
“He will help Barca a lot. He will also help me, who plays on the wing.”
Barcelona do have the advantage of knowing that Roque – who compares his instinctive finishing ability to that of Blaugrana legend Luis Suarez – has spoken openly about his desire to follow in the Uruguayan’s red-and-blue footsteps.
Manchester United, meanwhile, remain in pursuit of a more affordable centre-forward with Financial Fair Play concerns restricting Ten Hag’s ability to spend big on an established number nine.