As Manchester United look on the brink of securing the marquee signing of Spanish international Juan Mata from rivals Chelsea, the fact remains they are still short of improving their squad to an effective level to be considered Premier League title contenders at the end of this frightful campaign.
They still need to consider wholesale improvements for the squad all over the pitch - and the move for Mata does not negate the need for more attacking midfield options - as they lack the quality and consistency currently offered by Nani and Ashley Young in that area.
One name that has been consistently linked with a move to the club recently has been Everton Ribeiro.
The Brazilian Footballer of the Year has had an incredible season for Cruzeiro in Brazil as they took the Campeonato Brasileiro title by storm - finishing the campaign as champions. And Ribeiro received the accolade as the tournament's best player; such was his influence on the title win.
I will continue doing my job here at Cruzeiro but plan on getting to a big club. It's a dream I've had since young, I've always liked Manchester United."
Cruzeiro have no plans to sell him anytime soon - as they want him to play a part in their Copa Libertadores campaign. Their president recently made it clear that it would take 'an awful lot of money' to snap him up - so a deal seems unlikely.
The impending arrival of Mata has probably suspended any interest in his services until the end of the season regardless - but United must be careful, because rivals are snooping.
The deal, fronted by Kia Joorabchian, would have seen the Ukrainian champions pay €10 million up front for the player as well as a percentage of Marcelo Moreno’s playing rights.
Cruzeiro however flatly denied the approach - and it seems an ‘unnamed’ English team remain the only current interested party ready to do battle with Shakhtar for his signature.
For now Everton is unlikely to leave. His best chance of making it into the Brazil squad for the World Cup next summer is to continue impressing in his homeland.
But United must remain vigilant to those financial powers ready to undertake them in the race for one of Brazil’s most wanted domestic stars.
image: © jbl767