Bebe transfer: Man United to face questions from police

May 11, 2012

'Fairytale' deal is being investigated by anti-corruption unit in Portugal

MANCHESTER UNITED will be questioned by the Portuguese police over the controversial signing of unknown Portuguese striker Bebe in the summer of 2010.

United paid Vitoria Guimaraes £7.4m for the Portugal Under-21 forward even though manager Alex Ferguson had never seen him in action and despite the fact Bebe, 20 at the time, had little or no top-flight experience.

While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of United, the questioning forms part of a larger enquiry by an anti-corruption unit of the Portuguese police into the dealings of Vitoria Guimaraes, a Premier League club who appeared in this season's Europa League.

According to The Guardian the Bebe deal was facilitated by Jorge Mendes, one of Europe's top agents whose clients include Nani, Anderson and Cristiano Ronaldo, who had all moved to Old Trafford from Portugal in previous seasons.

It's alleged that Mendes replaced Goncalo Reis as Bebe's agent just six days before the deal with United went through, and The Guardian goes on to claim that "of the 9m United paid to Vitoria for Bebe, Mendes was paid 40 per cent, 3.6m". That staggering slice of the action consisted of a 10 per cent agent's commission and a further 2.7m because Mendes had a just taken 30 per cent ownership of Bebe's "economic rights". At the time of the transfer Man Utd chief executive David Gill described Bebe as a player who "really came on the scene in the last week or so".

Despite requests from The Guardian the Portuguese police refused to reveal any details of their investigation. United have said they will cooperate and a spokesman added: "Clearly if the police ask us for information, we will co-operate with them. Nobody is suggesting that we have done anything wrong."

When Bebe signed for United in August 2010 manager Alex Ferguson described the move as a "fairytale", a reference to the youngster's impoverished upbringing living in homeless shelters. However, the Portuguese player made just two league appearances (both from the bench) during his time at Old Trafford before joining Turkish club Besiktas on loan last summer. A knee injury has hampered his progress in Turkey and last month he was suspended from the first-team squad after breaking a curfew.

Sign up for our daily newsletter