Once upon a time, Lucas Moura was a Sao Paulo starlet wanted by half of the clubs who dine at Europe’s top table.
When he moved to Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2012, Lucas was expected to become the face of one of Europe’s most ambition clubs. The French side had to fend off significant interest from Manchester United to secure his signature and obviously saw him as a talent they could not pass up on. The fee of £38 million was steep, but the return was meant to be far greater than any fee could possibly be.
The result, however, has been rather more underwhelming. Seldom a first choice and blighted by inconsistency of performance, Lucas has been in fierce competition for places with Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Julian Draxler and Angel di Maria at different periods during his spell in the French capital.
Rumours of a transfer are quiet, though. They are little more than brief gossip column one-liners, but is Lucas a signing that Premier League clubs should be looking at seriously?
In a word: yes. His 29 Ligue 1 starts last year show the player he really can be, and he thrived for the most part, delivering 12 goals and five assists. His pace would be terrifying even in the electric, non-stop Premier League and the Brazilian has a surprisingly good shot that brings goal returns superior to many of his Premier League peers.
However, the leaders in the current betting market for him at Inter. The Italian giants are staging somewhat of a rebuild, but could run into financial fair play difficulty this summer, which may well prevent a move for the 24-year-old. He would be a real coup for the Nerazzuri, though a move seems improbable and Premier League clubs would/should outbid the 2010 Champions League winners.
Odds on a Premier League switch are long, mind. Manchester United are at 6/1 to attempt to sign Lucas again, though the presence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford surely makes that unlikely. Given the enormity of a potential fee and his age, Lucas would have to be signed with the prospect of regular minutes and that simply cannot be guaranteed at Manchester United this season.
Following the Red Devils in the market are Liverpool at 8/1. Although pace and width is a necessity for Jurgen Klopp after the frightening reliance on Sadio Mane last season, the coup in signing Mohamed Salah rules out a Lucas move. That shouldn’t stop Liverpool fans salivating at the prospect of that trio working together, because we can all dream.
Arsenal (12/1) and Chelsea (14/1) are the other two Premier League sides of relevance for the Brazilian. The Gunners are focussed on Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez to add extra attacking options, while Chelsea’s supplement to Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro looks likely to be youngster Charly Musonda.
Lucas, however, would be perfect for Arsenal and Chelsea. Yet to reach his peak and with a gradual improvement in his performances throughout his time in Europe, the Brazilian has all the attributes to be a real Premier League hit. Whatever the price, the former Sao Paulo man is worth it in a summer where hesitation will cost league places.