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Sep 2, 2010

Manchester United missed out on cut-price Bebe

The former coach of Manchester United's £7.4 million summer recruit Bebe says he tried and failed to sell the player for just €150,000 in January.

Bebe's arrival at Old Trafford was unexpected to say the least, as the forward moved to United from Vitoria Guimaraes having spent only five weeks at the Portuguese club after joining on a free transfer from Estrela Amadora.

His experience of competitive football was limited to the Portuguese third division and United signed him on the strength of some impressive appearances in pre-season. However, Estrela coach Jorge Paxaio says they could have purchased Bebe at a fraction of the price just eight months ago.

"Last season we had no money at all," Paxaio told the Daily Mail. "We were trying to transfer Bebe to other clubs. We had to raise money desperately. We told everyone in England and in Europe: 'For €150,000 you can have 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 a medium-sized club in Europe.

"I didn't expect Manchester United. Having said this, Manchester United have signed an extraordinary player."

Estrela's claim has been backed-up by Bebe's former agent, Goncalo Reis, who added: "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.

"A scout from United could have contacted me or the club last season. There was no secret. But I understand that the United scout just saw certain games in Portugal and only realised Bebe was a great player 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."

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