Silly season, part 2: the players

The revelation of 2019 looks set to move to Flamengo

It is the busiest time of year for Brazilian clubs off the field, with players coming and going.

Pre season training has started and most of those clubs that were planning on making managerial changes have done so already, with 11 out of 20 Série A teams making changes. I commented on those moves in a post last week. This week, I look at the major moves in the transfer market since the end of last season. The window is still open and deals are still happening, so I’ll do a more comprehensive post at a later date – but these are the biggest stories so far.

Flamengo have been one of the busiest clubs – the biggest news is that they have kept hold of Bruno Henrique and Gabigol, so far. The former is being linked with a big-money move to China, although my money would be on him staying, while Gabigol seems to have his eye on a move to Europe, with Chelsea and West Ham interested. According to reports in Brazil though, the player is edging closer to staying at Flamengo.

That hasn’t stopped the club wanting to sign Pedro on loan from Fiorentina and this deal looks like it could go through this week. He would be a great replacement if Gabigol left, but it is possible that they take Pedro, and Gabigol stays, which would be fantastic news for the club. Jorge Jesus would pair them together up front, meaning that Gabigol would be more likely to drift to the right, and Bruno Henrique would play in a slightly less advanced position on the left. It hasn’t worked out for Pedro since his injury, but I still think he is a top talent and will come good.

Flamengo have strengthened in other positions too and look like the team to beat this year. Their biggest signing has been Michael, the 23-year-old Goiás attacker, who was named as the revelation of the Serie A last year. The deal hasn’t been confirmed by Flamengo, but it has been confirmed by his club Goias and it is happening.

Corinthians and Palmeiras were also in the running for his signature, but Flamengo won the race. They have also bought centre back Gustavo Henrique, one of Santos’ best players and added winger Pedro Rocha from Cruzeiro. Lille midfielder Thiago Maia could be the next in through the door.

The bad news for Flamengo is that they look likely to lose their 17-year-old talent Reinier who will move to Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window. This is a blow and Jorge Jesus even complained that the fee they are set to receive (between €20 and €30 million) is too low. The player hadn’t yet established himself as a starter so the move won’t make a huge difference to Flamengo’s first team. That being said, it is somewhat sad to see another young talent move abroad before he’s even got close to reaching his potential in Brazil.

Another big name linked with a move abroad is Antony, who burst on to the scene with São Paulo last year. His club has turned down offers of €15 million, believed to be from RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund after allegedly turning down a €20 million offer from Manchester City last year. Antony’s form dipped in the middle of the season before picking up at the end. Of course, he is still just a kid, has a lot to learn and dips in form are understandable at this stage of his career. He is a fantastic talent with a big future.

Corinthians might have missed out on Michael, but they have signed one big name attacker in the shape of Luan, from Grêmio, who scored two goals on his debut in a friendly last night. The player was once considered to be the best player in South America, but struggled badly for form last year. Corinthians’ new boss Thiago Nunes will be hoping that he can kick start his career and get the best out of the player.

They have also signed left back Sidcley, on loan for a year from Dynamo Kiev. 30-year-old midfielder Junior Urso has left the club and been replaced by 26-year-old Colombian Victor Cantillo. Where the club really need to strengthen though, is up front. They have added a 20-year-old talent called Davó, from Guarani, but it would be wrong to expect such a young player to lead the line. In the last few days, they have been linked with Athletico Paranaense attacker Rony, who would be a top signing.

Palmeiras have had a very quiet window and, at the time of writing, had not made any major signings. Borja, their most expensive signing, has joined Junior Barranquilla on loan for the season. He has been a flop and while they are unlikely to ever recoup the fee they paid for him two years ago, at least they have got him off the wage bill for 2020. Another one of their big signings that hasn’t lived up to expectation is Gustavo Scarpa, who has been the subject of a €5 million bid from Spanish club Almeria. That has gone quiet though. Barcelona, meanwhile, are close to striking a deal to take their 21-year-old midfielder Matheus Fernandes. Strange one that, since Fernandes wasn’t a first team regular last year.

The club raised eyebrows by selling Arthur, considered one of the best young players in Brazil, on a permanent deal to Bragantino. The latter mean business and have been splashing the cash after receiving a big wad of dosh from Red Bull. They have changed their name to Red Bull Bragantino and signed Thonny Anderson (Grêmio), Alerrandro (Atlético-MG) and Leo Realpe (Independiente del Valle) on permanent deals, while Luan Cândido (RB Leipzig) and Matheus Jesus (Corinthians) have arrived on loan.

Fortaleza attacker Romarinho is interesting Fenerbache. The player has a release clause for foreign clubs of R$ 90 million (which equates to about €20 million), but I don’t think he’s worth all that and wouldn’t expect Fenerbache to pay it. That too, has gone quiet.

Santos’ summer goes from bad to worse. Not only have they lost Sampaoli, but they have also lost key defender Gustavo Henrique to Flamengo. They have, at least, managed to add Madson and Raniel to their team, but there isn’t much money so there is not much that new coach Jesualdo can really do, other than work with the excellent players coming through the club’s academy. Victor Ferraz has moved to Grêmio.

Grêmio didn’t renew the loan of Felipe Vizeu, who is not wanted at his parent club Udinese either. He looked set to move to Athletico-PR but that move fell through. Athletico have signed Carlos Eduardo from Palmeiras to replace Argentine Marco Ruben, whose loan deal has finished and returns to Rosario Central. They might need a replacement for Rony soon too.

41-year-old right back Léo Moura has retired, while Rafael Galhardo and Romulo have also left Grêmio. Central midfielder Matheus Henrique is interesting some of the big teams in Europe (with sources tipping him for a move to Barcelona) and perhaps with that in mind, the club have signed former Cruzeiro and Real Madrid man Lucas Silva.

São Paulo fans will be delighted with the news that last year’s keeper Thiago Volpi has signed for the club on a permanent deal. Particularly since their reserve keeper Jean was jailed in the United States after being accused of beating his wife while the pair were on holiday. He has been released on bail but a trial will still go ahead and he has moved to Atlético-GO on loan for the season.

Atlético-MG stalward Luan has left the club and signed for Japanese side V-Varen Nagasaki. The club’s tricky Colombian midfielder Yimmi Chará has moved to the MLS and the club are also looking to cash in on Ecuadorian midfielder Cazares. Big effort by the club to balance the books. They have brought in Hyoran from Palmeiras on loan, signed a Colombian kid called Dylan Borrero and centre back Gabriel has returned on loan from Botafogo.

Clubs that have not been good at balancing the books in recent years include the Rio teams Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco. All of them are really having to shop in the bargain basement at the moment due to previous financial excesses. It wouldn’t surprise me though if they pull of a few good signings – the clubs do seem to have good scouting networks, particularly Fluminense, and they also have good youth academies so expect to see some new names coming through. Vasco’s Argentine striker Germán Cano looks like a good finisher and could be a top signing.

There have been a series of other deals, but there isn’t time or space to mention them all on this post. Stay tuned though and at some point I’ll be posting a complete list of transfers from all teams on the blog.

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