Sao Paolo club shops Lucas Moura
LONDON -- Sao Paulo vice president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes says he remains hopeful an agreement with Manchester United can still be reached over 19-year-old Brazilian star Lucas Moura.
Moura's agent, Wagner Ribeiro, all but ruled out a summer switch to Old Trafford on Tuesday after United's $54.1 million bid was rejected by the Brazilian club. However, Sao Paulo now claims it is open to negotiations with United before the transfer window closes.
"I don't rule out the possibility that in the future we open negotiations with Manchester United as we received them with great courtesy," Lopes told Radio Estadao ESPN.
"And there is the possibility they come back with another offer. Their approach was serious. Other teams have also expressed interest for Lucas, but only through the press from their countries."
For Sao Paulo, the decision not to sell would represent a major financial gamble. Moura's economic rights are currently 80 percent owned by the club, with the player retaining the remaining 20 percent, but from Aug. 1, 2012, that ownership share will fall by 10 percent under the terms of his contract, according to sources.
Moura has instructed his representative to continue talks with United while there is still a possibility that a deal can take place.
"My boss is the player. I always talk to him," agent Ribeiro told Radio Globo. "The person who determines what I do, and my guidelines, is the player. If he says he does not want to leave Sao Paulo, I wouldn't even accept an offer.
"He told me to go ahead when I spoke about the interest of Manchester (United). It's a great proposal. If it was something he couldn't refuse, he would go. But he is also happy in Sao Paulo. (But) if he stays at Sao Paulo, life goes on."
On Monday, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the club's interest, but denied reports that a deal had been struck.
The deal has been an on-again, off-again affair. On Monday the Brazilian website, UOL.com reported that Sao Paulo was seeking more money for the teenager than United was willing to spend.
"They have reached their limit," Ribeiro told UOL. "Lucas Moura won't leave. He is happy at Sao Paulo. We have to forget this subject. There is no possibility he leaves now.
"Manchester United made an offer, which was rejected and they won't make another one as they have reached their limit."
Manchester United is set to face former Chelsea starts Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka as the Red Devils take on Shanghai Shenhua Wednesday in a friendly.
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