• Premier League

Man United increase search for Latin American talent

ESPN staff
September 9, 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson says Antonio Valencia is "as tough as nails" © Getty Images

Manchester United are focusing on South and Central America in their bid to discover the next generation of stars at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson has increased the number of United's scouts in Latin America after being impressed with the attitude and ability of the men who have crossed the Atlantic to play for the club.

United completed the signing of 18-year-old Chilean striker Angelo Henriquez last week. He became the fourth South American in Ferguson's squad, along with Ecuadorian Antonio Valencia and Brazilians Anderson and Rafael while Fabio da Silva is on loan at QPR this season.

He also bought Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who made an immediate impact at Old Trafford, scoring 20 goals in his debut campaign for United after being signed from Guadalajara in 2010 for £6.9 million. And it has encouraged Ferguson to look west again in his search for bargains.

"Our scouting there has increased," he told Inside United magazine. "We've got an operative in Mexico, two in Brazil and four South American scouts now.

"Quite frankly, they do produce. You see Antonio Valencia - he's as tough as nails with great discipline about him. The South Americans love playing football, it's just in their blood.

"The three Brazilians - Anderson, Rafael and Fabio - love it and are first to training every morning. It's a breath of fresh air.

"Chicharito [Hernandez] has a fantastic attitude to playing and everything else. It's really good. So we've done very well in Central and South America in the last two or three years."

The first South American signed by Ferguson was Juan Sebastian Veron in 2001. Others to have arrived include another Argentine Gabriel Heinze, Uruguayan Diego Forlan and Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson.

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