Brazilian defender confirms Manchester United contact

Sporting Lisbon defender Mauriciodos Santos Nascimento confirmed in an interview that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal asked about his availability.

Mauricio, 26, confirmed to Brazilian media that Manchester United made contact with his manager over a potential deal that would see him reunited with his former defensive partner Marcos Rojo.

The Brazilian-born centre back, in an interview with Brazilian outlet Esporte UOL, claimed he was also considered by the Premier League club but insists he is ‘very happy’ with life in Portugal.

‘’They [Manchester United] sought my manager, Carlos Goncalves,’’ Mauricio said.

‘’But I am centred, focused and a very calm person. It was not a certain thing. Here at Sporting, people like me very much and I am very happy.’’

The Sporting defender, who signed a five-year deal in 2013 having joined from Brazilian side Sport Recife, is relatively inexperienced in European football and has only really competed in one full season.

He made 28 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring one goal, but has built on that this term with an extra eight appearances, including two in Champions League clashes.

Before he made his move to Portugal, the 6’1’’ defender was infamously involved in an on-field punch up with team-mate Briga Obina while playing for Palmeiras. The two went at each other as they made their way to the tunnel and were both shown red cards.

The interest from United in the Brazilian defender is likely to have stemmed from last season when the Manchester club’s scouts made numerous visits to Portugal to watch over potential new signings.

After landing Rojo, the plan may have been to bring Mauricio with him and to keep the partnership going. However, no move ever materialised, and the defender claims he is settled in Portugal.

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