The Porto supporters could not believe it at first.
Alex Telles, their new left-back, had joined the Portuguese giants from Galatasaray for a fee of around £5million in the summer of 2016.
The Brazilian signed for Porto following a season on loan in Serie A with Inter, whose manager, Roberto Mancini, had been his boss in Turkey.
Telles made 21 appearances for the Italians during the 2015/2016 campaign, regularly lining up against clubs of the magnitude of AC Milan, Roma and Juventus.
But on a stifling August night in Vila do Conde, he was really struggling against lowly Rio Ave.
His frustration got the better of him and, in the 65th minute, Telles received his marching orders having racked up two yellow cards.
Porto manager Nuno Espirito Santo did not even look at this new signing as he trudged off the pitch at the Estadio dos Arcos, where Porto came away with a 3-1 victory despite going down to 10 men.
The fans needn’t have worried, however, as Telles began to cement himself in Nuno’s side, gaining plaudits across Portugal for his impressive performances at left-back in a team which also contained future Wolverhampton Wanderers stars Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota.
He has gone on to establish himself as a firm favourite at Porto, with 26 goals and 56 assists in 193 games for the Dragons.
And, with the 27-year-old in the final year of his contract – meaning he could be available for a lower fee than a player of his quality would normally command – it is no surprise that he has been heavily linked with a move away.
Manchester United are open to signing a new left-back before the summer transfer window closes next month, with Telles one player under consideration.
United have held talks over a possible deal, but discussions are not as advanced as some other outlets are reporting.
Telles himself – who has already scored two goals in two games this season – teased a proposed move to Old Trafford last weekend.
“I’m a guy who focuses a lot on work, people believe what they want, say what they want in the newspapers, but the most important thing is to be focused on my work,” Telles told Sport TV.
He has also reiterated his commitment to the Portuguese champions, but refused to reveal how close he might be to an exit.
A native of Caixas do Sul, a city in southern Brazil, he played for both Juventude and Gremio before signing for Galatasaray in January 2014.
Telles was feted at the Istanbul giants, whom he helped to a league and cup double under former Manchester City manager Mancini.
And it was the Italian who took Telles to Milan ahead of the 2015/2016 season when he returned for a second spell at Inter, with the Brazilian penning a one-year loan deal. To the surprise of many, Inter did not take up the option to sign him, so their loss was Porto’s gain, and the left-back was instrumental in the team which won the 2017/2018 and 2019/2020 Portuguese championship.
Telles – who won his first cap for Brazil in a friendly game against Panama last year – would be in direct competition with United left-back Luke Shaw for a place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team.
And he would give United much more creativity down the left flank than Shaw does, with the latter scoring only once and making seven assists in his 158 Premier League appearances for the Reds.
In contrast, Telles notched 11 goals last season and provided eight assists. He’s just as adept when it comes to the defensive side of his game, something which could benefit after the side shipped five goals in their first two league games of the season.
Telles is a practising Roman Catholic and is devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, whose fast day is May 13 – the number he has tattooed on his left arm.
United fans will be praying that this transfer goes through before the window closes.