Manchester United transfer target in hot water for 'deliberate booking'

Leo Baptistao was linked with Liverpool, Wigan, Brighton and QPR in January but Manchester United were said to have the biggest interest in the player. So why is he in trouble?

In January a sudden spree of Premier League outfits decided to take an interest in Rayo Vallecano striker Leo Baptistao. The likes of Wigan, QPR, Brighton and Liverpool all reportedly stopped by to run the rule over the 20-year-old Brazilian forward in the winter transfer window but the team mentioned the most with regards to an interest in his signature were Manchester United.

He has had a slow rise to prominence in football. Once a strike partner of Neymar at Portuguesa Santista he moved to Spain with Rayo as a 16-year-old but injury problems and a bout of hepatitis effected his early progress in Spanish football.

He made his first-team debut this season and grabbed one assist and the winning goal in that fixture against Real Betis and has since gone on to have an impressive campaign this season which has alerted the interest of bigger clubs.

In fact it has been reported that he has agreed a deal with Atletico Madrid for next season.

But this week he has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons after it was reported he got himself booked on purpose, along with Javi Fuego, in order to accumulate his fifth yellow card of the season and miss the game with Barcelona.

Marca suggested he continuously tried to receive a yellow card with ‘every trick in the book’ after encroaching at a free kick but it was eventually an off the ball incident with that saw him booked in the comfortable win against Espanyol.

It has been suggested that with the game at the Nou Camp an unlikely place to earn three points that the players decided to clear their suspension backlog in order to be available for the rest of the season in games where three points are more likely; therefore helping their team to a potential European spot.

While it is also reported that gifting Barca the three points by losing two of their key players would not be an issue for the Madrid side; as it would make it difficult for their capital rivals Real and Atletico Madrid to catch Barca.

The Rayo manager Paco Jemez was furious at the suggestion:

‘’I want to make it very clear that I will not allow anyone to doubt the professionalism of my players. I also want to make clear to our fans that we will go to the Nou Camp to play the three points and the game compete with full intensity, as we always do.’’

Getting yourself booked seems more like a Real Madrid thing to do don’t you think?

image: © juantiagues

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