Some of the hottest property in Brazil may have already made its way to Europe this summer, but there are still plenty of good players left in Brazil. Still need a star striker before the transfer window closes? Damn right you do. Forward this post to your local club Chairman and tell him to get his cheque book out fast.
1 – Luan, attacking midfield, 24 years, Grêmio
At 24 years of age, Luan is no longer a talented youngster or prospect, but he is a classy player and considered by most pundits to be the best player currently playing in Brazil. He also happens to be available for transfer.
Luan is the heartbeat of a very good Grêmio side: he scores goals, makes loads of assists, has a great fist touch and is the first name on any self-respecting fantasy football managers’ team sheet. He is not blessed with pace, however, and has a gangly style of play. When I first saw I wasn’t too impressed, but then he did something that made me think he was a genius. Has a lot of creativity in his locker.
Was linked with Leicester City for a while last year although the Premier League links seem to have gone quiet since then. Some pundits reckon he has what it takes to make it at Barcelona, although I’m not one of them. Reports last week linked him with Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, as a replacement for the potentially Barcelona-bound Ousmane Dembélé. Linked with Sampdoria earlier in the summer and for a while it seemed that he was on his way Spartak Moscow – Grêmio accepted an offer from the Russians but the player turned it down. For now the player says he is focusing on his football and he is likely to start Grêmio’s Brazilian Cup semi-final second leg this week.
Likely cost: £20 million. Chances of leaving this window: 7/10
2 – Lucas Lima, attacking midfielder, 27 years, Santos
His contract with Santos expires on the 31st of December this year and it seems like he won’t be signing a new one. Barcelona were said to be interested in the player earlier this summer (Neymar’s father is one of Lucas Lima’s advisers), but the fact that Neymar has gone to Paris Saint Germain has given Santos hope that he will stay. That being said, I’m not convinced the Lucas Lima was ever really on Barcelona’s wish list – if he was, why would they have just forked out 30 million big ones for Paulinho?
Either way, there are plenty more options out there for Lucas Lima and the contract that Santos offered him in June remains unsigned. Lucas Lima may have been a somewhat later developer, but you don’t get 14 caps for Brazil unless you are a class act. His form has suffered this season due to several niggling injuries and he hasn’t had the same influence on Santos this year as he has in recent years.
Santos are still fighting on two fronts – they are third in the league and still in the Copa Liberadores. With that in mind, he may well be tempted to stay for the rest of this season and sign a pre-contract with a European side and move there at the end of this year. Has been linked with Fenerbahçe, who have had a 4 million euro bid rejected. Can do better than that, surely.
Likely cost: £6 million. Chances of leaving this window: 6/10
3 – Wendel, midfielder, 19 years, Fluminense
Never heard of this fella? Well you have now and you may be hearing a lot more of him in the future. Barcelona, Porto and CSKA Moscow are said to be interested – yes, Barcelona and a club from Russia are linked with every talented Brazilian. Unlike Luan and Lucas Lima, I do think this kid could one day be good enough to play for Barcelona, although I don’t see that move happening in this window. Wendel is defensive midfielder, but gets around the pitch and has an eye for goal too. Was voted best young player in the Rio State Championship this year and has established himself in the Fluminense first team, aged 19. Fluminense’s financial situation is bad even after pulling in more than £10 million from the sale of Richarlison to Watford, so there is a good chance that Wendel will still be sold this month. He had a trial with Benfica when he was 17 years old and he was turned down to Fluminense’s advantage. Fluminense turned down an offer from CSKA Moscow worth 7 million euros earlier this summer. The club are holding out for 15 million euros.
Likely cost: £11 million. Chances of leaving this window: 9/10.
4 – Rodrigo Caio, Centre back, 23 years, São Paulo
I’m not his biggest fan – simply because I don’t see that he has the physical attributes need from a top class central defender. He is not the quickest, is not the strongest and is relatively short for a centre back (1.82m according to Wikipedia). That being said, he is good on the ball, reads the game well and can play in several positions – right back, defensive midfield and centre back. Seleção coach Tite seems to like him too; he was called up to the Brazil squad last week even though there was no place for David Luiz.
Caio was set to move to Valencia 12.5 million euros a few years ago but he failed his medical. I’ve never really understood why since he plays matches for São Paulo week in week out without any apparent problem. He turned down a move to Zenit this summer but wouldn’t commit to staying at São Paulo. Apparently Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain are interested. Really? I don’t buy that personally. And since he’s already in the seleção squad, and this is World Cup year, would he really want to risk moving to another country now and potentially sitting on the bench at Real Madrid?
Likely cost: £15 million. Chances of leaving this window: 6/10
5 – Guilherme Arana, left back, 20 years, Corinthians
One of the hottest properties in Brazil. He only turned 20 in January, but has become a fixture in the very solid back four of league leaders Corinthians. Good going forward and solid in defence and looks like a star in the making. Has been linked with a move to Russia football during this window (tell me one player that hasn’t!?). Corinthians have set an asking price of R$74 million – a cool £18 million – and that is the asking price to sell at the end of the season in December. Perhaps a slightly higher offer, say R$100 million (or £25 million), and they will be tempted to say yes now? That would be steep for a player that is still very inexperienced. And would he want to leave now, when it looks like he will win a league title if he stays at Corinthians this season? It’s a long shot. But never say never. Either way, remember the name.
Likely cost: £22 million. Chances of leaving this window: 4/10
6 – Lucca, Winger/forward, 26 years, Ponte Preta
Despite selling their two best players only a few months ago Ponte Preta continue to defy the sceptics and are currently sitting in 11th place in the league. One of the main reasons they continue to punch above their weight is the form of Lucca, who has scored 10 Série A goals this season and is on loan from Corinthians. French side Nantes have shown interest in signing the forward, but they have offered a paltry €2.5 million. That was rejected out of hand by Corinthians, and value him at more than €5 million.
Any sale would be complicated since Ponte Preta would need to agree too, although I assume that for the right amount of money, Ponte Preta would be willing to end his loan. It turns out though that Corinthians own 60% of the players transfer rights, while Cruzeiro and Criciúma own 25% and 15% respectively. They would surely have a say in his valuation too and with that sort of ownership structure, and a relatively low transfer fee, I think it is unlikely he could get a visa to play in England. But I think he could definitely do a job for a mid-table team from France, Spain or Italy, where getting a visa would, I assume, be easier. If €5 million was really the price, that would be an absolute bargain. The player himself has said that he would be open to a deal as long as it suited all parties – i.e. himself, Corinthians and Ponte Preta.
Likely cost: £5 million. Chances of leaving this window: 5/10
7 – Zeca, left back / defensive midfield, 23 years, Santos
One player that wouldn’t have any difficulty in getting a visa to play in England is Zeca. After all, the player himself flew to Italy only last week to pick up his brand new Italian passport. The Santos club president has admitted that the club needs to sell one of their assets this window, and Zeca is certainly one of their more marketable players. Santos did turn down an eight million euro bid from Atletico Madrid earlier this year, while Ajax have offered 6 million euros this transfer window. According to reports, Santos are holding out for 10 million euros. Surely a deal can be done then – you’re only four million apart gents.
Zeca has been struggling for form and fitness and has missed a lot of games this year. He did play the full 90 minutes in Santos’ draw with Coritiba last weekend. The player normally turns out as a left back but can also play in midfield or at right back. Like Luan and Rodrigo Caio, he was part of the Brazil side that won Olympic Gold .
Likely cost: £7.5 million. Chances of leaving this window: 6/10
8 – Lucas Veríssimo, centre back, 22 years, Santos
What is it with these French teams putting in lowball bids for Brazil’s top talent? According to reports, Nantes have offered €3.5 million for Santos’ talented 22-year-old central defender Lucas Veríssimo. Even though Santos are still in with a chance of winning the Copa Libertadores and the Brazilian league, they are apparently willing to let Veríssimo go, for the right price, which happens to be €7 million exactly.
If he was any good why would they do that I hear you ask? Santos need the money and Veríssimo is one of their more marketable assets. They also feel that they have enough cover in defence so he is dispensable. He only broke into the first team this year so €7 million isn’t too cheap for a relatively untested 22-year-old centre back, even in today’s crazy transfer market. Veríssimo is physically imposing, is now a regular in Santos’ miserly defence and he is also a threat from set pieces. Saint Ettiene have had a bid rejected and apparently there is a Russian club, surprise surprise, interested too.
Likely cost: £6 million. Chances of leaving this window: 7/10
9 – Borja, centre forward, 24 years, Palmeiras
Replacing Gabriel Jesus was never going to be an easy task, but Borja hasn’t even come close. To be fair to Borja, the whole Palmeiras side has struggled this year and there is a lack of harmony in the group, reflected by their elimination at the hands of Barcelona of Guayaquil, Ecuador in the Copa Libertadores. Borja is currently sitting on Palmeiras’ bench and hasn’t scored in his last 11 games. Not what you would expect from the fourth most expensive signing in Brazilian football and Palmeiras’ most expensive ever signing. Palmeiras invested heavily in Borja – R$ 33 million reais for 70% of the player’s transfer rights to be exact – and expected a lot more.
Despite the shoddy return so far this year, Palmeiras still value the player at around €12 million. Both the club and player himself are said to be open to a move to European football, so assuming someone is prepared to stump up that amount, or something close to it, expect Borja to be packing his bags. Sampdoria and Marseille are interested. Why splash out so much on a forward who hasn’t scored in 11 games for his club? Well, he does have four caps for Colombia and he did score lots of goals for Atletico Nacional last season, helping them to lift the Copa Liberadores.
Likely cost: £10 million. Chances of leaving this window: 8/10
10 – Jean Filho, goalkeeper, 21 years, Bahia
Bahia don’t get as much media attention as many of the Southern clubs do so, to some, Jean might be a surprise inclusion in this list. But Bahia fans will tell you that their young goalkeeper Jean has been one of their best players this season; including state championship games, Jean has played a total of 33 games and conceded just 22 goals.
According to the players agent, Benfica are considering an offer for the talented young stopper. He also told a Bahian newspaper that Jean’s release clause is very high, but that the club would be willing to accept a lower offer. Although how much that would be is anybody’s guess. And since it is anybody’s guess, I am going to do exactly that: £6.34 million. Paper talk, perhaps. But Benfica are on the lookout for another goalkeeper after selling Ederson to Manchester City. Like Ederson, Jean also has a tattoo on his neck, is talented, is young, is a goalkeeper and is Brazilian. Clearly that is a transfer that is meant to be. Whether or not Jean would be able to get a visa to play in England, only an immigration officer could tell you. For me though, Portugal seems like the obvious destination.
Likely cost: £6.34 million. Chances of leaving this window: 6/10
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