The Sunday Express says Mourinho has been aware of the attacking midfielder's talents for some time but knew there was little chance of securing a work permit for the player who was attracting considerable interest when he was at Bahia.
Instead Benfica signed him in the summer for around £3 million and he has proved to be a sensation in the Portuguese League.
Last week he was called up by Brazil boss Dunga for the two friendlies against Turkey and Austria.
Once he becomes a full Brazilian international it would be easier for a Premier League club to secure a work permit.
Mourinho won't want to miss out on a player tipped to go to the top, one he has regularly scouted as he prepares to make his move.
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