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Bebe blunder! Manchester United could have had 7.4m signing for 125k

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02 Sep 2010 13:56:57

Bebe blunder! Manchester United could have had 7.4m signing for 125k

Manchester United could have signed Portuguese striker Bebe for as little as £125,000 last January, it was claimed last night. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson shocked the football world three weeks ago by sanctioning a £7.4million deal for a 20-year-old he had never even seen play on TV. Bebe has not played competitive football at a level higher than the Portuguese thirddivision and Sportsmail can now reveal that his former club Estrela da Amadora touted him around Europe for just 150,000 euros as they desperately sought cash tostave off a winding-up order. Surprise move: Bebe joined the ranks at Old Trafford last month for £7.4million - but United could have snapped him up for a fraction of the price in January Former Estrela coach Jorge Paxaio told Sportsmail last night: 'Last season we hadno money at all. We were trying to transfer Bebe to other clubs. We had to raise moneydesperately. We told everyone in England and in Europe: 'For 150,000 Euros you canhave him'. We couldn't get anybody interested. Nobody trusted him. None of the clubs were interested because he had never played at a high level. 'I was surprised with the sudden way it happened with United. I was hoping he would move to a bigger club in Portugal or to a medium-sized club in Europe. I didn't expect Manchester United.' Revelation: Jorge Paixao touted Bebe to other clubs - but no=-one wanted him Bebe grew up and lived in a homeless shelter outside Lisbon until he tore up his contract with Estrela and moved to Portuguese Premier League club Guimaraes on a free transfer in the summer. Last season he earned £12,000 a year at Estrela, the same amount he now earns at United in a week. Last night, Bebe's former agent Goncalo Reis said: 'Bebe would have been very cheap during last season and then we tore up the contract because he wasn't being paid by Estrela and so then he was free. Honest: Bebe's former agent Goncalo Reis was open to offers 'A scout from United could have contacted me or the club lastseason. There was no secret. But I understand that the United scoutjust saw certain games in Portugal and only realised Bebe was a greatplayer when he saw some pre-season games involving Guimaraes. 'If they had looked wider they would have seen him earlier and paid very little. But everyone was the same.' Bebe is back in Portugal this week after being selected for the Under 21 squad for the first time. He could face England tomorrow night. Coach Paxaio added: 'Having said this, Manchester United have signed an extraordinary player.' One for the future: Bebe has been tipped for greatness by his former coach United fans last night claimed a significant victory over the Glazer family after it was confirmed that the club have failed to sell their full allocation of season tickets for the first time in years. United have fallen 2,200 tickets short of their 54,000 target, although chief executive David Gill claimed the figure was still 'pretty good' in the economic climate. Owen Hargreaves has been included in United's 25-man squad for the Premier League despite his ongoing knee problems.  Revealed: The incredible rise of a lost street kid who is now... Manchester United's new Bebe I bought Bebe in blind faith! Fergie spent £7.4m before seeing new signingUnited fans wonder if Sir Alex Ferguson has signed a £7.4m dud in BebeMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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