THE £7 MILLION transfer of unheralded 19-year-old winger Bébé from Portuguese side Vitória de Guimarães to Manchester United in the summer of 2010 has long been the subject of speculation on the part of English football fans.
It’s only now, however, that it’s receiving closer inspection; courtesy of an investigation by Portuguese police.
United manager Alex Ferguson authorised the transfer of the teenager, whose professional experience at the time extended no further than the Portuguese second division, solely on the recommendation of former assistant coach Carlos Queiros.
The anomalous size of the transfer fee and the presence of the saga’s chief protagonists, Bébé and Queiros, on the client list of agent Jorges Medes triggered an intense, if short-lived, wave of media speculation regarding possible malfeasance.
Responding to a request for information from the Guardian, a spokesperson for United refused to comment, saying only:
“There is no need to comment at this stage because no one is alleging any wrongdoing by us.”
Suspicion at this point falls on Mendes, who is alleged to have claimed a payment approximate to that currently unaccounted for.
Bébé made a total of five appearances for the Manchester club before being released on loan. He is currently recovering from a cruciate ligament injury sustained while playing for Turkish side Besiktas.