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Manchester United had Lucas in the bag

Manchester United had Lucas Moura in the bag...until Leonardo intervened.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been chasing the Brazilian international for much of the summer, and it appeared as though the Reds manager was on the verge of landing his man. The agent of the 19-year-old has revealed that an agreement had been reached with Sao Paolo, and all that was missing was the forward’s signature on the contract.

However, before United could announce the capture of Lucas, the player was told of Paris St Germain’s interest. And having spoken to their sporting director Leonardo, a compatriot of his, he decided to turn his back on Manchester and sign a four-and-a-half year contract with the Ligue 1 club, which will begin in January 2013.

"Everything was agreed between Sao Paulo and Manchester United,” agent Wagner Ribeiro told UOL. "The contract had been written (and) just needed to be signed. But then Leonardo called me and asked to talk to Lucas. They talked.

“Leonardo was helped by the fact he is Brazilian. He was very gentle with Lucas. The possibility of living in Paris - a much more pleasant city than Manchester - also influenced his decision. But it was PSG's project that impressed Lucas."

There seems to be better news for United when it comes to another of their targets, Robin van Persie. The Holland international has already stated he has no intention of signing a new contract at Arsenal, which is currently in its last 12 months. And with Manchester City said to be out of the running and the lure of Juventus not strong enough, United are in pole position.

Ferguson revealed after the friendly against Barcelona on Wednesday night that he is struggling to reach an agreement with the Gunners for their 29-year-old captain, but it is believed the player has his heart set on Old Trafford. It now seems just a matter of time before an improved bid is made, in what will be a test of Arsene Wenger’s resolve. 

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