Manchester United midfielder Casemiro was watching as the Red Devils got demolished by four goals to nothing by Brentford earlier in the season.
Rather than be put off by the prospect of coming into United’s mess the Brazilian’s stance on coming to Old Trafford was only reinforced.
The Telegraph’s James Ducker reports, “The Brentford defeat, coming only six days after an opening 2-1 loss at home to Brighton, was so bad that there were concerns in some quarters it might be enough to convince Casemiro to back away. They need not have worried.
“Casemiro, it turned out, was watching from home in Madrid and began sending messages to his agent saying: “Tell them I’ll fix this”. If anything, the debacle appeared only to deepen his desire to move to Old Trafford.
“This notion of Casemiro having become “fixated” on the transfer, as one source put it, was reaffirmed when a United delegation flew to Madrid a few days later to seal the deal.”
Real Madrid officials held a dinner with Casemiro in a last-ditch effort to convince him to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu but he more than made it clear he was only interested in moving to the Theatre of Dreams much to Madrid’s disappointment.
The effect has been that Casemiro has drastically improved United as a team. He has so far more than kept his promise. Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot have been afforded the freedom to bomb up and down the channels safe in the knowledge that Casemiro is anchoring at the back.
The Red Devils are conceding 0.6 goals and 8.4 shots on average per game with Casemiro in the middle of the park as opposed to 1.5 goals and 11.5 shots per game when he is absent.
The team also averages 64.1 passes into the final third per game compared to 51.3 without him. The same upward trajectory in numbers is witnessed in United’s possession, pass accuracy and open-play crosses.
When United were doing their homework on the 30-year-old they approached Raphael Varane, who gave his unequivocal support to the move and told them he was a must-buy.
Varane also told his teammates that they must always look to give the ball to Casemiro on the pitch as he’ll make things happen and he exudes calmness.
Ducker adds that close confidants to Casemiro reveal that at United, the player is happier than he has ever been at any other stage of his illustrious career.
He has taken to the contemporary English lifestyle like a duck to water and relishes the chaotic scheduling of the Premier League.
Casemiro is particularly close to Marcus Rashford who he has taken under his wing and believes can be one of the best players in the world if nurtured properly.
Casemiro himself came out and said that Rashford can be a top-five player in the world.