Are Manchester United being conned over Douglas Costa?

July 13, 2009 at 00:57 25 comments

Douglas Costa: over rated and over priced?

Douglas Costa: over rated and over priced?

Watch FootBrazil’s special report on Douglas Costa and Santos’ rising star, Neymar, here

Weekend reports in the British press have again linked Grêmio’s Douglas Costa with Manchester United.

The Premier League club have apparently been chasing the 18-year-old midfielder for more than a year. Now they may be close to getting their man in a cut-price deal, which could see Costa moving initially for as little as £7 million plus performance-related add-ons.

While it’s normal to see the British tabloids filling their pages with wild speculation, this weekend’s reports came from The Guardian, Independent and The Times.

According to The Guardian, Costa is supposedly being championed by Manchester United’s chief scout in Brazil, John Calvert-Toulmin.

The article talks about “the talented 18-year-old who has been hailed as “the new Ronaldinho” in his country” …..  and goes on to say …. “Manchester City are also aware of Costa’s burgeoning reputation …. adding “Grêmio is the club where Ronaldinho made his breakthrough and Costa has obvious similarities in terms of his ability to run with the ball and beat opponents from his favoured role between midfield and attack, as well as being a free-kick specialist.”

The Independent article is essentially a rehash of the Guardian post but makes slightly more grandiose claims in that “Costa is a free-kick specialist resonant of Cristiano Ronaldo and his close control has produced goals which the departed Portuguese would have cherished.”

All well and good. The only problem is that Douglas Costa has failed to perform any of these acts of genius in a league or cup game for Grêmio.

The teenager is currently injured but even when fit he rarely starts a match for the first team. Costa’s fame abroad far exceeds his reputation here in Brazil where he is certainly not regarded as the ‘next Ronaldinho Gaúcho’, he is definitely not famed for his free-kicks and any comparison with Cristiano Ronaldo would leave even the most ardent Grêmio fan in stitches.

The only thing Douglas Costa has done to date is manage to put in a few decent performances for Brazil’s Under 20s.

This is common place in a country that wheels out talented players seemingly on a daily basis. Some do go on to be the real article. Though many next big things such as Corinthians’ Lulinha and now perhaps Neymar at Santos, have struggled to reproduce the form they displayed for Brazil’s junior sides in the more demanding Brazilian league.

Manchester United seem dead keen on getting their man. But just where have they got the idea that Costa is all the things he’s cracked up to be? Grêmio have played 41 games already this season. Costa has made just 15 appearances and has failed to score a single goal. Something does not quite add up. United and their scouts are either the best potential spotters in the business or they are having the wool pulled over their eyes big time.

Entry filed under: Douglas Costa, Manchester United rumours, Transfer news. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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25 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Andy  |  July 13, 2009 at 02:35

    Great article, will be interesting to see what will happen next.

  • 2. Rob  |  July 13, 2009 at 03:12

    united are not having the wool pulled over their eyes at all. man united have great talent scouts in brazil who have already delivered rafael and fabio da silva as well as rodrigo possebon who all looked highly promising in their appearances in the first team last season. united are offering £7m plus incentives for douglas costa which seems a reasonable opening offer. i also think youre underestimating how talented the lad is by claiming he only put in decent performances for brazil u20’s. he was one of the stars of the brazil u20 team which lifeted the south american youth championship earlier this year, if he was really as average as you seem to think united wouldnt be interested in him. i have complate trust in the united scouts who delivered rafael da silva to strike gold once again with douglas costa.

  • 3. jade  |  July 13, 2009 at 05:00

    this deal will not go through… even if hes the real deal, his price tag is just preposterous!

  • 4. ANTONIO  |  July 13, 2009 at 06:27

    The headline of this article is an absolute joke. Man united being conned? No chance. I am positive that united scouts have been watching the young man for a while now and seen the potential in him. Da Silva twins, Possebon where all relatively unknown in brazil but since they have joined united they have shown immense ability. I can go on to name a number of other young players Man Utd signed that went on to be great players, but the prime example being an 18 year old Ronaldo. The recent success with the young brazilian lads at united is the reason why Fergie has gone back into the brazilian market with the purchase of another highly rated youngster in Dodo and hopefully now Costa. As for going on about both Costa and Neymar being unable to deliver in the Brazilian league, they are both very young! Christ

    • 5. pitacodogringo  |  July 13, 2009 at 19:44

      No one would be more pleased than me to see another Brazilian making a successful move to England. But I have serious doubts that Costa is anywhere near as good as he’s being hyped up to be outside Brazil.
      True, the Da Silva twins and Possebon were unknowns in Brazil. That’s probably because they were never part of any first team squad in the country. So, I assume they were signed up purely on their potential.
      Cristiano Ronaldo was 18 but he was playing for the first team at Sporting and had scored goals.
      Neymar’s is 17. Costa’s 18. But as they say in football ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’.
      My point is that Costa has been involved with the first team squad at Grêmio since October 2008 and hasn’t been good enough to be a regular starter. If he can’t get into a team that plays in the Brasileiro or even the crappy State leagues, how on earth is he going to cope with the Premier league, which is considerably more demanding?

  • 6. bobbygee  |  July 13, 2009 at 11:34

    Man U always have an eye for talent. We will see. Brasil is a hot bed for futebol talent. Eu sou Flamenguista. Bobby Gee

  • 7. Skipper  |  July 13, 2009 at 15:56

    I agree with writer of article. I was watching a match between Gremio and Corinthians last night. Costa was not playing due to injury, but South American commentators were going on about how nobody in Brazil rated him at all, and their shock at all the hype surrounding him, especially since he can’t even make the Gremio first team.

    • 8. pitacodogringo  |  July 13, 2009 at 19:04

      if you were watching in English, that was me and my stand-in commentator, Daniel Minozzi

    • 9. ANTONIO  |  July 13, 2009 at 19:16

      don’t make your opinion of a player on the basis of what commentators say. Watch the guy play then come up with your own conclusion

  • 10. Read my lips, no new signings | United Rant  |  July 13, 2009 at 17:10

    […] £20 million. The under-21 international is undoubtedly talented but when leading pundits in Brazil question whether United are “being conned,” then the club is right to set a price, and stick to it as they did with Karim […]

  • 11. Daniel Powell  |  July 13, 2009 at 17:25

    Why do clubs like Man United feel the need to buy up the worlds best talent at such a young age just to sit on the bench or play for the reserves.
    Can they not let him develop a bit further in Brazil wether he is the real deal or not, did it hurt Robinho to stay at Santos till he was at least 20, to many young brazilians are suffering with the hype and big transfers when they just need to develop!! Will we really see another Ronaldo,Ronaldinho??

  • 12. IVOR IRWIN  |  July 13, 2009 at 20:14

    Well, they’ve either scouted him properly, or not!

  • 13. Top Posts «  |  July 13, 2009 at 21:09

    […] Are Manchester United being conned over Douglas Costa? Weekend reports in the British press have again linked Grêmio’s Douglas Costa with Manchester United. The Premier […] […]

  • 14. skaheru  |  July 14, 2009 at 06:15

    Perhaps Man U’s comfort lies in their habit of buying an unfinished product and making it work. Think about it – Fergie doesn’t ever buy (or rarely buys) an accomplished star. You’ve got to be up and coming to fit in his stable, and from what you’ve explained, this young fella fits the bill.

  • 15. suryalubis  |  July 14, 2009 at 07:18

    Keep Spirit Mu !

  • 16. Links  |  July 14, 2009 at 20:25

    […] Some Brazilian based writers wonder if United are being conned over Douglas Costa (it will be touched upon in a forthcoming post as […]

  • […] segues into another interesting example. One of Douglas Costa. When I came across this article by a Brazilian football broadcaster/pundit, questioning if United are being conned over Douglas Costa, (link via Unitedrant) I felt there may […]

  • 18. Arnab Dasgupta  |  July 15, 2009 at 06:17

    If he’s so crap, y wld such a hefty price tag be laid on his head? If hes so crappy, shouldn’t Gremio grab the 7m plus incentives deal and presumably laugh their way to the bank? Sure he may not be anything close to being the next ronaldinho but such tags are just tabloid hype & i doubt Fergie or his scouts in Brazil are falling for that. Just look at the Obertan signing for eg. He wasnt highly rated at his club either & they made do with a 3mn sum. Its clear Fergie sees something in the lad and hopes to amplify that & its obvious he wants to do the same with Costa. Gremio maybe playing their games but fergie certainly isnt getting conned here.

    • 19. pitacodogringo  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:27

      no one ever said he was crap. the question is why hasn’t he been able to get in to the first team on a regular basis if he’s so highly-rated?

  • 20. Sexton Blake  |  July 16, 2009 at 09:58

    I would not presume to comment on whether or not Douglas Costa is the ‘real thing’ – let’s not forget that C. Ronaldo was an unknown quantity when he signed for Man U, when all the hype was on the ‘next Figo’, Queresma, who has turned out to be the Portuguese Denilson – but there is no doubt in my mind that someone is going to get seriously burned soon. There is so much hype about the ‘next Kaka/Messi/Ronaldo’ on kids who haven’t kicked a ball in anger, and all it takes is for a club to buy into the Football Manager/YouTube/blog hype and there will be twenty million euros wasted on no more than a kid. The sad thing is that we all buy into this – I imagine the vast majority of visitors to this blog hope to get a ‘head up’ on a player who really will become the next European Superstar; what is worse is when fans slag off Wenger and Ferguson for not immediately catching the first plane and bringing back Lulinha or Nilmar for a vastly inflated fee.

  • […] segues into another interesting example. One of Douglas Costa. When I came across this article by a Brazilian football broadcaster/pundit, questioning if United are being conned over Douglas Costa, (link via Unitedrant) I felt there may […]

  • 22. IVOR IRWIN  |  August 2, 2009 at 18:33

    If you read the Brit press this morning there’s a lot of stuff about how Gremio are pissed at Costa because he’s been ‘partying’ (although supposedly he’s teetotal)every night and showing up late for training. Supposedly, this is giving Ferguson ‘doubts,’ although it never stopped him buying players before. It sounds to me like a ploy on the part of the boy and his agent to get them to accept a lower fee. Any thoughts on this, Jon?

    • 23. pitacodogringo  |  August 2, 2009 at 23:11

      confession time – i provided the NOWL guy with some of the info he used in the bit he put out on sunday – the stuff Neil Ashton wrote is essentially correct (though he ‘sexed it up a bit as any good tabloid journalist would do – haha) – Costa’s club, Grêmio, and his agent, are more than concerned at his apparent lack of focus and the player’s been told to get his act together both on and off the pitch

  • […] Are Manchester United being conned over Douglas Costa? « Pitaco do … […]

  • 25. Wayne Rooney  |  March 23, 2010 at 15:02

    We’d love Douglas Costa to team up with Wayne Rooney – would be awesome – goals galore!


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Jon Cotterill. Commentator/expert/eyes on South American football. São Paulo/Buenos Aires. Trying to shout more.

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