Manchester United’s Bebe has returned from a career threatening injury on loan at Besiktas. Can he prove his critics wrong?
Sir Alex Ferguson’s signing of Portuguese forward Bebe in 2010 was one of the surprise transfers of the summer.
It was not only that very few had even heard of him, but the £7 million fee raised more than a few eyebrows for a player signed on a free transfer only months earlier by Portuguese side Vitor Guimares.
It was his pre-season exploits which had alerted the club, who met his release clause, but soon after arriving in Manchester, the player was reported to not be up to speed with the rest of the squad.
He made seven appearances in total for United in 2010/11, scoring two goals, but did not feature in 2011 after a disappointing showing out on the wing against Crawley Town, where he looked more than a little lost.
In a bid to take the player, labelled by many as the ‘flop of the season’, out of the spotlight, Ferguson agreed to loan him to Turkish side Besiktas this season, a deal reported to include an option to make the move permanent for just £2 million, which would suggest United were ready to give up on him after just one season.
He suffered a nightmare start, sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury for Portugal’s under-21s at the beginning of the season.
He had been out injured ever since, but made his long awaited comeback on Sunday night, coming off the bench in Besiktas’ 2-2 draw against Istanbul B.B.
Bebe played a handful of minutes and while he did not have enough of a chance to make an impression, it is a vital step in the right direction for the player, bearing in mind such knee injuries can keep players out for even longer than seven months.
Now, his future is up to him. He will be 22 in July, so still has his whole career ahead of him. It may be tough for him to make it at Old Trafford, but unlike many players, at least he has an opportunity.
He was a member of Portugal’s under-19 side before he joined United, before moving up to the under-21s after his move, so United are not the only ones to spot his potential. Most supporters who have watched him in a United shirt are sceptical he will ever have the ability to cut it at Manchester United, but right now the most important thing for his development is to play regular football.
Bebe needs to get back to full fitness and find a way to impress for Besiktas, and show that he is not the total flop most believe him to be.
He will head back to United in the summer, but it is most likely, after missing nearly this entire season through injury, that the club will send him back out on loan again. As a footballer he has played very few first team games and needs to get a full season under his belt before he can attempt to breakthrough at Old Trafford.
However if he cannot impress on loan, he may never get another chance in Manchester, and the club may even decide to cut their losses this summer with a quick sale.
It will at least, be fascinating to see how he performs in the final couple of months of this season now he is back fit again.