Manchester United have been linked with a move for a move for recent Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool target Leandro Damiao. Sir Alex Ferguson may have splashed the cash to bring in Robin van Persie, but his goals would be an almighty asset to the wiley Scot.
It is a surprise that Manchester United have again been linked with a January swoop for another striker, considering the recent acquisition of Robin van Persie and the contract extension signed by Danny Welbeck. Nevertheless, for a front-man that has netted a bagful of goals in his home-land, it isn't a surprise to see this particular target man mooted with a possible switch to one of the games biggest teams.
That target is Leandro Damiao. The Internacional front-man, born in Jardim Alegre, Brazil, who has long been on the radar of Spurs, with the club trying and failing on numerous occasions to lure him away from his home-land. Understandably, the rumours continue to swirl surrounding a possible deal to take the 23-year-old to England.
The powerful front-man actually began his career as a midfielder back in Brazil, but failed to make his mark in the middle of the park following unsuccessful trials with XV de Outubro and Atletico Ibirama. Leandro was deemed not good enough to play in the position and, justifiably, was released from both clubs.
However, Atletico Tubarao were willing to give him another shot at making it as a professional and it was with the southern Brazilian side that Leandro finally began to realise his potential, not as a midfielder, but as a striker. As such, Ibirama gave him a second chance to showcase his capabilities and he didn’t disappoint, netting eight times in the Santa Catarina state championship.
A front-man that has netted a bagful of goals in his home-land, it isn't a surprise to see this particular target man mooted with a possible switch
It was with the Brazilian side that he caught the eye of Inter, where he joined the club’s U-20 outfit. Three titles with the youth team earned him a call-up to the B-team and it wasn’t long before he was turning out for the first-team. Leandro continued to impress and in 2010, was part of the O Clube do Povo’s successful Copa Libertadores campaign, netting in the 5-3 aggregate win over Guadalajara to win his first major trophy.
Leandro has continued his rise to prominence since the victory of the Mexican side two years ago and has netted 70 goals in 116 appearances since debut, a goal, on average, every 1.6 games. However, his domestic form has seen interest remain minimal, at best. Spurs are the only side to have firmed up their interest over the past 12 months, despite numerous failed bids, while interest from Paris St. Germain, AC Milan and Juventus has remained just that.
Many are of the opinion that Spurs remain favourites to snare the 23-year-old, due to the commercial relationship between the two sides signed in August 2009. It was this deal that saw current Brazil U-23 captain Sandro secure his switch to Spurs in 2010, with the tough tackling midfielder continuously on to Leandro that he should join him at White Hart Lane.
However, any possible deal currently remains up in the air. Inter are thought to be holding out for bids of anything upwards of £20m, a fee that no club has yet to match. Furthermore, the player himself has continuously stated that he is, like compatriot Neymar, eager to remain in Brazil until the culmination of the 2014 World Cup.
Nevertheless, it hasn’t haltered the speculation linking Spurs, amongst other clubs, with a move for the powerful front-man. Inter deny a deal is in place, but the player’s agent recently claimed that anything is possible, hinting at a possible move in January.
Leandro is, seemingly, the ideal target-man, with the Brazilian target-man the ideal number nine for any team. His goal record speaks for itself; his prolificacy in and around the 18-yard-box far outweighs any of a number of strikers currently plying their trade in the position at present.
Inter are thought to be holding out for bids of anything upwards of £20m, a fee that no club has yet to match.
His physical attributes means he can power his way through the defence, rendering him the ideal front-man, as he has showcased in the summer’s Olympic games, where Leandro topped the scoring charts with six goals to his name as Brazil battled their way to the final before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Latin neighbours Mexico.
An injury to Wayne Rooney, ruling the England star out for a month, has rendered United, to an extent, fleet-footed up front. Danny Welbeck has started the campaign slowly, Javier Hernandez appears to have lost his goal scoring tough and the sale of Dimitar Berbatov has left them, as some might say, light going forward.
Ideally, Leandro would be charged with spearheading any attack, a position that is currently occupied by Van Persie. However, the Dutchman would surely thrive behind the burly Brazilian, who would look to capitalise on any knock-downs that the 23-year-old would inevitably lay at the feet of the former Arsenal star.
It remains to be seen whether Ferguson would move for Leandro, or whether United even have the funds to bring the player to Old Trafford, but he would certainly be a prized asset for the 12-time Premier League champions as they look to usurp rivals Manchester City at the summit of England's top tier and continue to pull away from Liverpool in their quest to maintain their stay as the country's most successful team.
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