Reports on Wednesday morning claimed Manchester United were set to activate Atletico Madrid defender Miranda’s €30million release-clause; cue the flurry of articles about the 29-year-old Brazilian.
But for those United fans eager to know if Louis van Gaal has his eye on a star or a dud, there is only one thing they need to know.
Miranda played against Lionel Messi six times last season, and the Barcelona front-man failed to score a single goal in that time.
Messi netted 41 times in all competitions in his last campaign, but Miranda had the beating of him for more than 500 minutes of football. That is not luck, that is outstanding defensive ability, and it is one of the reasons the Atletico defender is in such high demand.
The La Liga champions came up against Barcelona twice in the Supercopa, twice in the league and twice in Europe, with Diego Simeone’s side conceding just three goals in that time.
Those strikes came from Neymar (two) and Alexis Sanchez, with Messi starting all but one of those matches, and coming on as a substitute in the other. So if United really are interested in the player said to be one of La Liga’s very best, it is no surprise.
They were always going to have to make quite a signing to replace the departing Nemanja Vidic, and in Miranda, they may just have found that man. Because despite recent reports scotching the earlier claims, a look at that stat alone suggests United may be smart to make a move.