Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri was Manchester United’s back-up option if they were unable to sign Alex Telles from Porto on transfer deadline day, it has been claimed. United made Brazilian defender Telles one of their five deadline day additions on Monday, penning the player to a four-year contract with the option of a further year after reaching an agreement worth around £13million.
Telles managed 26 goals and 57 assists in 195 games at Porto and joins the Red Devils as a more attack-minded option down the left-hand side to provide competition with Luke Shaw.
Yet according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea’s Emerson – out of favour under Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge – was the alternative it talks with Porto went pear shaped.
The Brazil-born Italian international, 26, has only played 23 times under Lampard, who added England left-back Ben Chilwell to his squad for around £50m this summer.
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And while Emerson has not sealed a move away from Chelsea, although the domestic transfer window remains open until October 16, he was looked at by United’s hierarchy. Romano made it clear however that Telles was always the club’s No 1 target.
Speaking on the Here We Go podcast having long said United had an unnamed back-up left-back target, he said: “Many Manchester United fans told me, was it Nicolas Tagliafico from Ajax? No. They ask for Robin Gosens, no. They also ask for [Vitaliy] Mykolenko, no.
“The real name, the plan B for United if they had problems with Alex Telles, was Emerson Palmieri from Chelsea.
“They were in talks with some agents around the situation of Emerson. It was nothing advanced because United always said they wanted to sign Alex Telles.
“When they started to talk about Emerson, they said, ‘We want Telles, we will go for Telles.’ Their first target has always been Telles but the back-up option was Emerson.
“It was a particular deal because Chelsea were open to loaning the player. Also in Italy for example to Juventus or to Inter, on a simple loan or with an option to buy, but paying his full salary.
“But not with United, obviously they are fighting with United over some important places in the Premier League – you can’t accept a loan.
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“They were going to sell the player and that’s why United were not so convinced about him. They were convinced about the player but not about how to sign him from Chelsea.
“That’s why they went for Alex Telles and signed Alex Telles.
“They were not in talks with Chelsea, it was just an option with the agents, to say: ‘Okay if we don’t get Telles, pay attention to the situation of Emerson, he can be a good option.’”
After sealing Telles’ move to Old Trafford, Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “First and foremost I welcome Alex to United.
“He is a player we have been tracking for some time and his performances over the past few years are exactly what we are looking for.
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“He is a fighter and a winner and will add real determination and competition to the squad. Alex has the qualities, both as a player and as a person, that we want here at Manchester United.”
Telles himself declared: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [to come to United].
“I’m very happy to be here and I’m going to give everything to fight for the club and do the best possible. It’s a very unique opportunity and I’ll do the best I can.
“Playing in the Premier League has always been a dream for me. And, as I said before, I want to give my all to achieve the best results possible for Manchester United.
“I like to think of myself as a very intelligent player, a set-piece specialist and I’m always looking for opportunities to create passes to score goals.
“I have great beliefs in my defensive capabilities but also in my attacking ability. I’m in the best moment of my career and I believe I’ve grown a lot, and hopefully I can continue to do so.”
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