United battles with Benfica over South America’s top footballing prospect

London: Manchester United is in pursuit of one of South America`s top football prospects after receiving bright reports on the form of Brazilian defender Dede. However, Benfica is also reportedly interested in Dede.

Vasco da Gama’s 23-year-old prospect hails from the same area of Rio de Janeiro as United twins Fabio and Rafael, and has already been tipped by a rival club’s manager to be the cornerstone of Brazil’s back line at the next World Cup.

It is understood United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been closely following his progress in recent weeks and asked former United center-back and current Brazil talent-spotter Jaap Stam to run the rule over him.

Vasco’s dangerous financial position leaves them susceptible to offers, and United will be confident of outbidding Benfica, on personal terms as well as on asking price, for a player valued at around 15 million pounds, The Daily Mail reports.

Sources in Rio describe Dede as Brazil`s biggest star after Neymar. He further enhanced his reputation at last month`s Taca Guanabara semi-final against Flamengo, when a man-marking job on former Brazil international Vagner Love was seen as crucial to his side`s 2-1 win.


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