Manchester United are closing in on their second major signing of the summer, it seems. According to Tutto Mercato Web, the Red Devils are set to beat Liverpool to the signing of Brazilian attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. United will reportedly pay €25 million to secure his signature.
Firmino is currently away on international duty at the Copa America, but could find that the deal with United has gone through by the time he returns to Europe. Louis van Gaal has already signed Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, and Firmino’s arrival will make the squad even stronger.
The 23 year-old has been one of the standout players in the Bundesliga over the last couple of seasons. He was especially good in the 2013/14 campaign, scoring 22 goals in all competitions from midfield. He has been reported as a target for several top clubs around Europe, including Real Madrid, Arsenal along with, of course, Liverpool and United.
Signing him will be a major coup for Van Gaal as the Dutchman looks to re-build the squad left behind to him by Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes. It is really encouraging for United that they are still able to attract the top talents around Europe, even though they haven’t been anywhere near winning the league title in the last two seasons. But, last year’s 4th placed finish means that they will be back in the Champions League after just a one-year absence. This will give Firmino to prove himself against the most elite clubs on the continent for the first time in his career.
He will increase competition for the attacking players at Old Trafford, and the likes of Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria will be under pressure to be at the top of their games. Regular goals from midfield is something United have lacked in recent times, and Firmino may be just the man for them.