Dutch champions FC Twente are to act as a feeder club for Manchester United as the Premier League leaders look to snare some of the most promising South American talent.
At present it is difficult for English clubs to sign such players due to work permit regulations, with other European countries having far more relaxed rules on non-EU players. United have previously used their relationship with Royal Antwerp to such an end, sending Dong Fangzhuo to the Belgian club until he had played enough international games for China to qualify for a permit. Dong never made the grade at United and left Old Trafford for Dalian Shide in 2008.
Five Brazilians are being targeted by United as part of their link-up with Sao Paulo academy Desportivo Brasil. The players set to join up with Eredivisie side Twente, who now have a similar agreement in place to Antwerp, until the players have been in the EU long enough to qualify for a passport. That will enable the players to work freely in the United Kingdom and move to United.
Gladstony, Aguilar, Lucas Evangelista, Agnaldo and Rafael Leao were flown over to England last week and watched United beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Old Trafford. United's signing of Brazilian twins Rafael and Fabio from Fluminense was slightly different as they were granted special talent visas by FIFA to allow them to play UK after they turned 18.
The president of international business for South American football company Traffic, which owns Desportivo, told the Daily Mail: "Twente are a partner, helping United to resolve the problem of their EU passports. For two reasons it's good that a player goes first to Holland. First, after two or three years he's considered to be European. And, of course, it's easier to play in the Dutch league than the Premier League.
"Manchester United look for young players in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. If they find a good one they come to us. We'll get a player, register him with Desportivo Brasil, and we have a contract with United that they have an option to buy this player at 18 for a fixed amount. If the guy turns out to be an Alexandre Pato, United can still have him for a huge discount because of course we'll honour the contract. If they don't like the player, we keep him."