London: Brazilian club Sao Paulo has rejected a new 29.8 million pound bid for midfield prodigy Lucas Moura from English Premier League club Manchester United.
United were confident of landing the attacking teen midfielder after sending a delegation to South America to seal the deal.
But Sao Paulo president Juvenal Juvencio, who had been publicly preparing the way for a deal, suddenly changed his approach in what appears to be a clear move to hike the fee for Moura.
The Brazilian side had earlier turned down United’s opening offer of 25.9 million pounds, even though it met their previous asking price.
Sao Paulo are currently without a sponsor, and keeping hold of their star asset is seen as the only way of exerting a pull on outside investment.
“What matters in football is what you achieve on the pitch, not how much you have in the bank. We have decided that Moura will be an important part of the trophies we want to win,” a leading daily quoted a Sao Paulo source, as saying.
United will now have to improve their offer, paying above what they felt was the market rate for their prime target or withdraw, a move which might force a change of heart from Juvencio and the cash-strapped club.