• Premier League

Man Utd linked with Rayo youngster Leo Baptistao

ESPN staff
January 9, 2013
Leo Baptistao has been a welcome contributor for Rayo Vallecano © Getty Images

Manchester United have reportedly joined the race to sign Rayo Vallecano starlet Leo Baptistao, however Atletico Madrid remains the most likely destination for the player, who has notched six goals and five assists already in his debut Primera Division season.

According to AS, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson attended Rayo's 3-1 win over Getafe on Monday to take a closer look at Leo, 20.

Representatives from Liverpool, QPR, Leeds, and Brighton were also spotted at the game, in which the Brazilian attacker again impressed with a superb all-round performance which included the assist for his side's third goal.

However, Leo's English suitors could be set for disappointment, as Spanish radio station Cadena Cope reported last week that Atletico had already reached a €6 million agreement to sign the player in the summer.

Leo joined Rayo's youth set-up in 2008, aged just 16, after coming to prominence playing indoor football in Brazil alongside boyhood friend Neymar. His development in Madrid was set back by hepatitis and two serious collarbone injuries, so he only made his first-team debut at Real Betis in August, when he announced his arrival with a goal and an assist.

His form since has been a revelation, indirectly filling the gap left by current Swansea sensation Michu, who scored 17 times for the Vallecas club last season before leaving for Wales for just €2.5 million in the summer.

Rayo are said to be keen not to let Leo leave for such a low fee and AS say his contract, which ends in 2015, contains an €8 million release clause.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.