Not long now till Jim White turns up in his yellow tie. But which emergency signing could your team make from the Brazilian market?
The English transfer deadline closes next Thursday at 5pm and there is plenty of wheeling and dealing left to be done. Here are a few realistic options from the Brazilian league – players that are good enough, experienced enough to make a difference and would most probably qualify for a work permit.
Pedro – striker, Fluminense, 22 years
He was on the cusp of a move to Real Madrid and had been called up to the seleção for the friendly match against the USA last September. Cruelly though, he injured his cruciate ligament while playing for Fluminense and missed his seleção call up and the plug was pulled on his big transfer.
The good news is that Pedro is back in a Fluminense shirt now and banging in the goals again (5 goals in 8 league games this year). The bad news is that he hasn’t reached the same level that he was at before his injury. The big European clubs seem to be reluctant to make the investment and he was heavily linked with a move to Flamengo last month but his club said no.
Nevertheless, the lad is still a quality player and I would fancy him to make it in a top European league, and get his full call up to the seleção before long. He isn’t the quickest striker, but he is strong, has a good first touch, is a quick thinker and a very good finisher. Worth a gamble for sure.
Antony – attacking midfield, São Paulo, 19 years
After winning the Copa São Paulo (Brazil’s premier youth competition) with São Paulo earlier this year, Antony has burst into the first team this season. His performances on the right wing have really made people stand up and take notice, including the author of this blog. He’s a left footed player with great close control, fantastic dribbling skills, a quick turn of pace and a good pass. With his style and those skills you can see that this lad has played a lot of futsal.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in his game and in this blog’s opinion he has what it takes to go to the top. The main aspect of his game that could be improved would be his goal scoring. Just the one goal in nine league games so far this year. Brazilian youth international.
Everton – winger, Grêmio, 23 years
Heavily linked with Arsenal following his successful Copa America in which he scored and was man of the match in the final (personally I don’t think he played that well in the final). He’s a very good player: skillfull, fast, with an eye for goal and he certainly has the qualities to succeed in England. I wouldn’t put him in the world class category yet though – a few good games for the national team does not mean you will dominate in the Premier League week in week out, and he still has a lot to prove. Has been Grêmio’s best player for over a year now and played a part in them winning the Copa Libertadores in 2017.
Kanneman – centre back, Grêmio, 28 years
Alongside Pedro Geromel, Kanneman has been the maintain stay in Grêmio’s defence in recent years. Both players, like Everton, were part of the 2017 Copa America winning team. Most people, including Brazilfooty, rate Geromel (called up to Brazil’s World Cup squad), rate Geromel as the better player out of him and Kanneman. Kanneman isn’t as comfortable with the ball, but he is a no-nonsense defender: good tackler, strong, doesn’t mess about. Has got five caps for Argentina and has been linked with Everton and Arsenal in the past. Not in the very top categories of defenders, but he does represent better value than £45 million for Lewis Dunk, or £20 million for some bloke from Bristol City. Holds an Italian passport so a work permit wouldn’t be an issue.
Cuellar – centre mid, Flamengo, 26 years
Every team needs their N’Golo Kante. Unfortunately for 99.9% of the teams in world football, only one team can actually have N’Golo Kante. Flamengo are one of the 99.9%, but Gustavo Cuellar does that job pretty well for them. His tough tackling and disrupting opposition attacks doesn’t go unnoticed by Flamengo fans or the wider audience in Brazil. Now 26 years old, with seven caps for Colombia – the time could be right for him to try his luck in Europe.
Gustavo Gomez – centre back, Palmeiras, 26 years
Gustavo Gomez is on the books of AC Milan. His move there from Lanus didn’t work out as planned and he was loaned to Palmeiras last year. That was turned into a permanent deal for a fee believed to be 6 million euros. He is very strong, a good leader, tough tackler and takes penalties too – what more do you want from your centre back? I suppose you would like them to be very tall and exceptionally fast, which Gomez is not, but he is a very good player nonetheless. Has 33 caps for Paraguay so a work permit shouldn’t be an issue.
Dedé – centre back, Cruzeiro, 31 years
This is something of a long shot. I’m not sure how interested the player would be in playing abroad at this stage of his career and a work permit might not be that straight forward. He would command a high wage and solid transfer fee (which are considered in the work permit application) and he has been around the Brazil squad for a few years without ever really cementing a place in it. He is the best defender playing in Brazil though – a leader and physically imposing.
Felipe Melo – defensive midfield, Palmeiras, 35 years
Some people might say that every team needs a nutter. And if that is what you are looking for, look no further than Felipe Melo. He isn’t getting any younger but his form for Palmeiras has been very good. It’s not just his nutter qualities that stand out – he’s got the swagger, confidence and composure, he makes tackles and has a very impressive rang of passing. The main concern would be the step up in the pace of the game from Brazil to the Premier League. I’m confident he could do a job though and that leadership, confidence and experience could be invaluable for a team like Sheffield United. Wouldn’t cost much and a work permit wouldn’t be an issue since he has a Spanish passport.
Some crazy stuff in his highlights clip below. But among those exaggerated tackles, there are some really top quality passes and bits of skill.
Gabigol – forward, Flamengo, 22 years
He was meant to be one of Brazil’s next big things, but it didn’t work out for Gabriel Barbosa (aka Gabigol) at Inter Milan, who spent a lot of money to bring him over from Brazil. They shipped him out to Santos on loan last year, where he banged in tons of goals. This year he has signed for Flamengo, on loan, and is banging in even more goals (9 goals in 10 league games and two last night against Emelec in the Copa Libertadores).
He was linked with West Ham and Everton during the January transfer window – that move didn’t materialise, but he could surely do a good job in the premier league although that is unlikely to be for a team in the top half of the table. He is left footed, strong, an excellent finisher and has a handful of caps for Brazil. He has also represented them at youth level and won the Gold medal at the Olympics.
He does have a contract with Flamengo until the end of the year, but if you dangle Brazilian clubs enough money, they are more than happy to rip up loan deals. Furthermore, Flamengo’s attempts to sign Pedro seem a little odd given the form of Gabigol – might they have been considering letting him go and replacing him with Pedro? Surely not enough space for them both in the same team. He isn’t as good as Pedro but he knows where the back of the net is.
Gatito Fernadez – keeper, Botafogo, 31 years
Gatito Fernandez has established himself as one of the top keepers in Brazil with Botafogo, and showed his skills during the recent Copa America with Paraguay, in which he turned in some very solid performances. He made some big saves in the quarter final against Brazil, although he couldn’t keep out any penalties in the shootout.
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