Man United: What to expect when buying a Copa America protagonist

If 2011 is an accurate gauge, plenty of the players currently competing at Copa America 2015 – in which Argentina are [2.72] favourites – will make post-tournament moves.

By our count, there were 25 completed transfers to European clubs alone four years ago, and [6.8] Premier League title hopefuls Man United are among the potential purchasers judging by the incessant speculation linking them to Brazil international Roberto Firmino.

To give them an idea of what to expect if they recruit the Hoffenheim forward, or anyone presently participating in Chile for that matter, we went through each of those 2011 signings to pick out three of the most successful and three that didn’t work so well…


Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Kun signed after the most prolific of his five seasons in Spain and was an instant hit, notching eight times in his first five league outings and striking 30 times in 39 appearances across all competitions in 2011/12, including the goal that won the Citizens their maiden Premier League title. Perhaps his ability to produce peak form so soon after the tournament was enhanced by both Argentina’s early quarter-final exit and only being used as a substitute in the Albiceleste’s opening two games.

Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
Falcao worked his way onto many European shopping lists with a monster 17-goal Europa League contribution as Porto completed a treble in 2010/11. When he followed that with two of Colombia’s three goals at Copa America, Atletico Madrid could resist no longer, writing out a £28.6 million cheque. El Tigre found the adaptation a breeze, sealing a second Europa League winner/top scorer double and ranking third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in La Liga’s goal charts. He was sold to Monaco at a hefty profit in 2013.

Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Juventus’ summer 2011 transfer dealings transformed Italian football, fast-tracking their return to the top after five years of misery. While nabbing Andrea Pirlo on a free from champions AC Milan commanded all of the attention, the bargain £7.5 million acquisition of Vidal from Bayer Leverkusen was every bit as significant. The Chilean started three matches at Copa America, grabbing the winner in the opener against Mexico, and scored seven in 30 Serie A starts from midfield in his first season.


Diego Forlan (Inter)
Though a shade past his peak at 32, Forlan played all bar one minute of Uruguay’s six fixtures as they lifted the trophy, netting twice in the 3-0 final triumph over Paraguay. In hindsight, eight goals in 32 La Liga outings for Atletico Madrid in 2010/11 (down from 32 in 33 two years prior) was more telling, but Inter thought they had operated shrewdly in snaring him to replace Samuel Eto’o. The tone was set when the Nerazzurri included him in their Champions League squad despite being ineligible and it was all downhill from there: 20 appearances brought two goals and a contract termination.

Andre Santos (Arsenal)
It is easy to forget that Santos arrived at Arsenal with plenty of pedigree, starting Brazil’s final three matches as they won the 2009 Confederations Cup and every encounter at Copa America 2011, certainly enough to suggest that they were getting value for money at £6.2 million. However, the left back’s summer ended on a downer as he missed a penalty in their quarter-final shootout loss to Paraguay, and he didn’t bounce back at Arsenal. Tellingly, his two-year stay is best remembered for his ill-advised half-time shirt swap with Gunners nemesis Robin van Persie in a game at Old Trafford.

Sebastian Coates (Liverpool)
Yes, Liverpool bought young in snapping up the 20-year-old from Uruguayan club Nacional, creating more doubt as to how he would settle on Merseyside, yet he was no rookie. The centre back joined after starting and prevailing 3-0 in the Copa America final, and was named the young player of the tournament. Coates has been afforded just six Premier League starts in four years by the Reds, though a fine end to 2014/15 on loan at Sunderland has renewed optimism that he will make it in England.