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The Brazilian centre-back is rated as the second hottest prospect in the country, behind Neymar, and could command a £15m fee when he makes a likely move to Europe

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Manchester United are lining up a £15 million summer swoop for Vasco da Gama defender Dede, according to The Daily Mail.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has recieved rave reviews about the 23-year-old stopper who has impressed for Gigante da Colina, as he inspired them to a second-placed finish in the Brazilian league.

Dede, who hails from the same area of Rio de Janeiro as United twins Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, was part of a defence that conceded just 40 goals over the course of the season, the third best rearguard in the country.

His form hasn't gone un-noticed either, with Sir Alex sending Brazilian scout and former United centre-half Jaap Stam on scouting missions to track his progress.

The Dutchman has clearly been excited by his performances as United now consider whether to make a move for him this summer.

One stumbling block may be Portuguese side Benfica's interest in the player. The Lisbon-based outfit have a reputation for nurturing the finest South American talents and their Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan is ironically an Old Trafford target.

Despite Benfica pinpointing Dede as their top summer target, United are confident of outbidding them in any auction for his signature.

Vasco da Gama are susceptible to offers because of their perilous financial state, and £15m is thought likely to be enough to seal a deal.

Vasco's economic position has become so perilous that non-payment of wages has led to threats of a players' strike. One squad member, Bernardo, even took his side to a small claims court over lost payments.

Sources in Brazil cite his aerial strength and tackling ability as two aspects that would see him fit well into a United defence which has been weakened by injuries to Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

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