Santos midfielder Lucas Lima has plenty of admirers from Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan to Crystal Palace.

How Santos have manged to keep hold of Lucas Lima for so long is anyone’s guess. The Brazilian international has been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe over the last couple of years with Neymar saying as recently as June that he hoped his international team-mate would complete a mooted move to Barcelona, as reported by ESPN.

Now, the Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester United have expressed an interest in the 27-year-old midfielder, who could be a free agent in the January transfer window with his contract expiring at the end of the Brazilian Serie A season in December.

However, Lima’s agent has revealed that there was interest from another Premier League club – albeit one not quite boasting the same stature as Jose Mourinho’s giants.

“Inter, Roma and Barcelona are keeping close tabs on Lucas, Manchester United want him,” his agent Luccas Badia told Turkish newspaper Haberturk. “I think we would be well suited to the Serie A but we will see.

“Crystal Palace made a €15 million offer while Fenerbahce made a €20 million bid but for some reason neither has been accepted.”

The pulling power of the smaller Premier League clubs has grown immeasurably in recent years, with top European talent like Xherdan Shaqiri and Dimitri Payet rocking up at Stoke City and West Ham.

Yet, it’s fair to say Palace would make a real statement if they managed to beat Barcelona, Inter, Roma and Manchester United to the signature of a 14-time Brazilian international who won his league’s Player of the Year award in 2016.

Palace have lost each of their opening five Premier League games without scoring a goal, however, so it remains to be seen whether Lima would be enticed by the prospect of a likely relegation battle at Selhurst Park.

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