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Vitinha has all the ingredients to become a star – it is no wonder top clubs are interested in him

Manchester United, as is normal for this time of year, have been linked with an abundance of midfielders as Erik ten Hag looks to strengthen a key area ahead of the new season.

There is little doubt that United need reinforcements in the engine room. Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic are leaving the club, while there remain serious doubts that the much-derided ‘McFred’ double pivot will help return the Red Devils to former glories.

One such player that United appear to be keen on is Porto midfielder Vitinha, who has Premier League experience following a loan spell at Wolves in the 2020-21 season.

Porto midfielder Vitinha has attracted the attention of several top clubs with his performances

The highly-rated 22-year-old has so far been capped three times by Portugal's senior side

The highly-rated 22-year-old has so far been capped three times by Portugal’s senior side

Vitinha reportedly has a release clause of £34million, which has put United on red alert. But the Old Trafford club are not alone, with Arsenal and Barcelona also thought to be in the running to sign the 22-year-old this summer but the trio seem to have lost the race.

The Red Devils appear to have been dealt a new transfer blow as their slow start to the summer window continues. Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly closing in on securing his services, with Vitinha set for a medical with the French side.

Here, Sportsmail looks at the reasons why the young Portuguese caught the eye of the likes of PSG, United, Arsenal and Barcelona.

How did he get here?

Vitinha, full name Vítor Machado Ferreira, was born in a district of Braga and joined Porto at the age of 11.

He worked his way up the ranks at one of Portugal’s biggest clubs and eventually broke into the first team in the 2019-20 campaign, making 12 appearances as Porto clinched the league title.

Despite playing a peripheral role for Porto that season, Vitinha had done enough to impress Nuno Espirito Santo, who signed his compatriot on loan in the transfer window.

Vitinha signed for Wolves on loan from Porto in the summer transfer window in 2020

Due to constraints brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Wolves turned down the chance to buy him for £17m and he returned to Porto last summer – much to the delight of the Portuguese club’s fanbase.

Vitinha was a vital part of the title-winning team in the 2021-22 campaign as he featured in a total of 47 matches in all competitions, with his performances attracting the attention of Europe’s top clubs.

His displays have also seen him capped three times by Portugal and he is likely to be named in his country’s squad for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Vitinha was also part of the side which finished runners-up at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

How did he get on last time in the Premier League?

So-so. Vitinha didn’t get much of a chance to prove himself under Espirito Santo, appearing in 22 games for Wolves that season, but he hardly set the world alight when he was called upon.

The young Portuguese midfielder, like so many before him, struggled with the physicality of the Premier League and looked lightweight in the Wolves midfield.

But we did see glimpses of the clear talent he possesses in his armoury, most notably his long-range stunner in an FA Cup match against non-league Chorley. 

The Portuguese midfielder failed to show his full capability during his short time at Molineux

The Portuguese midfielder failed to show his full capability during his short time at Molineux

His spell in England will perhaps be remembered best for a stunning goal against Chorley

His spell in England will perhaps be remembered best for a stunning goal against Chorley

Then Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo gave him only 22 appearances during his year-long loan

Then Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo gave him only 22 appearances during his year-long loan

There were also brief flashes of his tidy play which would have led to sections of the Wolves support calling on the club to make his loan deal permanent.

It was perhaps a case of the right player at the wrong time as he is better suited to a technical team that has plenty of possession.

Should Vitinha return to the Premier League, he will do so with a point to prove.

Where does he play?

Among Vitinha’s many qualities is his versatility. He has operated in different central midfield roles including as a box-to-box number eight, a more advanced No 10 and a deeper No six.

The 22-year-old often played in a double Pivot for Porto, using his energy to help the Portuguese side in both the defensive and attacking thirds.

Vitinha has proven to be versatile and adaptable, playing in several central midfield roles

Vitinha has proven to be versatile and adaptable, playing in several central midfield roles

Vitinha is renowned for his short, sharp passes and is a classic case of a player whose stats to do not tell the full story.

He found the net on four occasions and made five assists in the 2021-22 season but regularly contributed to attacks which led to either shots or goals with cute passes in vital areas.

Both United and Arsenal are crying out for someone like Vitinha, who has the potential to be a star if deployed in the right system and if he can adapt to the tough nature of the Premier League.

What is his current situation?

Vitinha, as mentioned previously, has a release clause believed to be £34million – hardly an astronomical fee for a young player with such a bright future.

Porto’s president Pinto da Costa has said the only way the club will sell him is if that clause is triggered.

Da Costa previously confirmed Porto had received an offer for Vitinha, seemingly lower than the £34million they hope to earn from any potential deal.

Porto president Pinto da Costa said the only way the club will sell is if the release clause is met

Porto president Pinto da Costa said the only way the club will sell is if the release clause is met

‘We’ve received a concrete proposal for Vitinha, yes – it was a good bid but we did not accept,’ he told Portuguese newspaper Record.

‘So we mentioned again the release clause, which is the only way to sign Vitinha.’

While United were reportedly the ‘most interested’ side in meeting the release clause, some believe it is doubtful that the Red Devils pursue a deal for Vitinha if they land prime target Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.  

United were unlikely to pursue Vitinha if they secured prime target Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong

United were unlikely to pursue Vitinha if they secured prime target Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong

Arsenal have also been linked, while cash-strapped Barca will be in the market for a cheaper replacement if they do let De Jong join United. 

But it now appears Vitinha is edging closer to a move to France as he is set for a medical with PSG, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Romano tweeted: ‘Paris Saint-Germain have already prepared for medical tests and paperworks to complete Vitinha deal with FC Porto. Deal wanted by Luis Campos, his first signing will be Portuguese.’ 

What has his manager said about him?

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao was full of praise for Vitinha throughout the season. ‘It’s true, it’s normal for people to see these moments when Vitinha makes assists or regains possession to finish the plays on goal,’ he said in March.

Erik ten Hag will be in the market for midfielders in his first transfer window at United

Erik ten Hag will be in the market for midfielders in his first transfer window at United

‘But the work he’s been doing, with the ball, he’s a fabulous player, with technique and quality, he improved in the longer pass, in the timing of releasing the ball. 

‘At the moment, he seems to be a complete midfielder. He is one of the players who recovers the most balls. Combining that with the technical quality, we have a player who fills the field.’

High praise indeed, and music to the ears of his growing list of potential suitors. 

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao has regularly praised Vitinha and won't want to lose him

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao has regularly praised Vitinha and won’t want to lose him

Vitinha is a popular member of the team and has played for Porto for most of his career

Vitinha is a popular member of the team and has played for Porto for most of his career

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