United opened negotiations with Grêmio last month, but discussions are unlikely to resume this summer unless the Brazilian club dramatically reduce a prohibitive £20 million asking price for the teenager.
The bid for Douglas, 18, was thought to be an exception to Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim this week that United would make no further additions to their squad because of inflated prices in the transfer market, but it is among several proposed deals that have persuaded him about the lack of value this summer. The number of agents involved in the proposed transfer is another factor that has led the club to walk away from the negotiating table.
Of United’s three new signings, only Michael Owen was among the 22 players on the flight that took the squad to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. Gabriel Obertan, the recruit from Bordeaux, was missing through injury — as were Nemanja Vidic, with an ankle problem, and Owen Hargreaves, who continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.
Antonio Valencia, signed from Wigan Athletic for a £16 million fee, was missing because of difficulties in obtaining a visa.
Under the terms of his transfer from Wigan, the Ecuador winger had to apply for a new work permit to stay in the United Kingdom. That protracted process is complete, but he has yet to secure the documentation to play in at least one of the four countries that United will visit on their four-match Asian tour.
They start in earnest with a match against a Malaysia XI tomorrow, followed by games in Jakarta, Seoul and Hangzhou.