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Man Utd or Liverpool? Why (after 4 years) Anderson Talisca can finally land his Premier League move

So four years on, is he finally going to land him? Jose Mourinho. Four years after having plans for Anderson Talisca thwarted by the Home Office, is the Manchester United manager finally going to get his man?

If Mourinho had his way, Talisca would already be a Premier League player. A Chelsea player. In his second spell as Blues manager, Mourinho attempted to bring the then 20 year-old to London. Just the one full of season of first team football with Bahia was enough to convince the Portuguese of Talisca's potential - oh, and the recommendation of agent and trusted confidant, Jorge Mendes.

"Talisca is not in England only because he does not have a work permit, otherwise he would be here," lamented Mourinho at the time. "There were many big and important teams who wanted Talisca, and many tried to sign him even though they knew he could not play in England.

"The English team that signed him would loan him to some other team in a minor league, hoping for the eventual arrival of Talisca into the Brazilian team. Then he would have a work permit to enter England."

Now four years on, Mourinho is having another shot at bringing Talisca to England. After two years in Turkey with Besiktas, both parties accept the midfielder needs to move on. And there's no going back to parent club Benfica. The fallout from his bitter departure for Istanbul still lingers.

In just over 24 hours, the permanent option Besiktas has in Talisca's deal expires. Tribalfootball.com has learned as much as Benfica has fielded Premier League interest, so has Besiktas.

For while United - via Mendes - are talking to Luiz Felipe Vieira, Benfica's wheeler-dealer president, about a fee, Liverpool are doing the same with Besiktas supremo Fikret Orman.

The word from Istanbul is that Liverpool have assured Orman they will better the €21m option to sign Talisca outright before June 1. But the Besiktas board isn't so sure and reluctant to gamble on the word of the Reds.

It's the contact with Liverpool which led to Senol Gunes, the Besiktas coach, suggesting Talisca would be on his way to Merseyside this summer.

"He'll rival Cenk," declared Gunes a month ago, referring to Everton's former Besiktas striker, Cenk Tosun.

"Talisca has already completed his cycle with us. I'm sorry we can't keep him longer. It would have been good for us and for him."

The admiration Gunes has for Talisca is mutual, the Brazilian crediting the Trabzonspor icon for helping rebuild his career - culminating this month with a surprise call-up by Tite for Brazil's World Cup squad.

"Senol Gunes is like a father to me. He trusts me. The whole team has confidence in me," says Talisca. "At Benfica, I lost that trust in the second year. Here I won it again. The coach helped me a lot. I regained the pleasure of playing football. I am grateful to him."

At Benfica, it's acknowledged Talisca fell out with management after coach Jorge Jesus walked away at the end of the Brazilian's first season. Like Gunes, Talisca had grown close to Jesus and there was a resentment inside the club upon learning the pair were still in contact after Rui Vitoria had been installed as coach.

"With Besiktas, I am happy again," said Talisca earlier this season. "And I must also thank Senol Gunes, who knows how to get the best from me.

"He has given me the freedom of the field - and you can see how it's benefitted my play."

Indeed, Talisca leaves Besiktas and Gunes in career best form - which was enough to convince Tite to name the uncapped midfielder in his preliminary squad for Russia. Not since a call by Dunga back in 2014 has Talisca been involved in the Selecao.

"Talisca can score from outside the area," explained Tite. "He's physically imposing, very good in the air and can break through defensive lines of four or five players. The goal is to have options, players of different characteristics."

Of course, making Tite's final cut will guarantee Talisca work permit approval - at third attempt. Two years after Mourinho's frustration, both Wolves and Liverpool tried - and failed - to bring the Benfica attacker to England. Mendes, again, was prime intermediary. But this summer, thanks to Gunes and Tite, it will be third time lucky.

Vieira aims to sell for €35m. A bargain at today's prices, though given the tension between Talisca and Rui Vitoria, the likes of United and Liverpool know they have the upperhand. The Brazilian will be passing through this summer - there's next to no chance of him pulling on a Benfica shirt again.

"Those comments were important for me," Talisca said of Mourinho's praise all those years ago. "It was gratifying (back then) to know you're thought of at that level. But I'll keep my head down and achieve my goals step by step."

Which is now likely to lead to England. To the Northwest. And a choice between Liverpool and Manchester United.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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