It was one of the most incredible transfer stories in modern footballing history when the unknown Portuguese forward Bebe arrived at Manchester United from Vitoria Guimares on a £7.4million deal in 2010.
The now 22-year-old, who was abandoned by his parents as a youngster and shelter raised child, had completed a truly miracle move for somebody who had conquered such incredible adversity. Sir Alex Ferguson signed the talented attacking talent under the recommendation of former assistant Carlos Quieroz and to look at the physical stature of the 6ft 3in powerhouse you could immediately see there was no issue on that subject.
But the fairy-tale really ended there as his development has never quite kicked into gear; despite flashes of momentary brilliance the mercuriality of such talent made him an expensive mistake. Even before he suffered a severe knee injury whilst on international duty with Portugal’s under-21 team he had been loaned out to Besiktas, complete with a buying option of £2million, United more than willing to take the hit on the player. He was eventually sent home from the Turkish loan deal after he broke curfew at the club, staying out until the early hours of the morning.
But he had an impressive pre-season, with many tipping him for a breakthrough season yet considering his lack of involvement in the League Cup game with Newcastle United it appears his time could finally be up.
In 2010 in the aftermath of the signing Sir Alex openly admitted that the buy was an impulse one, and just like that pair of multi-coloured trainers I just donated to Oxfam it seems the time is coming to discard him. It doesn’t help that the transfer is now being subjected to FIFA and legal scrutiny over the payments to the players agent, or agents, as a new row over third-party ownership threatens to irritate the United hierarchy.
While injury is a possibility for his absence, he did feature in the under-21’s fixture with Wigan Athletic just five days ago so it seems he was simply not considered for selection, he was not even selected in the 22-man provisional squad, let alone the 18.
With United facing Chelsea next in the competition and a worryingly tough start to their Champions League campaign the chances of Bebe featuring for United seem extremely unlikely. It appears that the fairy-tale may be over for now for the mercurial Portuguese forward unless they can find a club willing to take him on loan in January.
While the fairy-tale may be over most United fans won’t necessarily miss him, this video shows what has been a disappointing contribution to the first team….
image: © Andrea Sartorati