The Brazilian Serie A – also known as Brasileirao – is arguably the best league in the CONMEBOL region.
It features some of the best players in South America, although the local product is quite good in comparison to other countries. But there a few players that stand out above the rest. Here are four Brazilian talents that are worth keeping an eye during 2018. They could easily make the jump and start thriving on a bigger stage.
Arthur is one of the hottest names in the transfer rumour mill at the moment. The 21-year-old holding midfielder plays for Gremio, and several experts have raved about him. In fact, several South American experts have dubbed him as “the new Xavi”, and both FC Barcelona and Chelsea are interested in signing him. Gremio plan to hold on to him, however, and have settled their stance to negotiate. The Brazilian club is not willing to let his star midfielder go for anything less than €50 million, although he might be available for as little as €30M. Needless to say, that is a bargain considering the crazy market rates we have witnessed over the past 12 months.
Arthur registered 27 Serie A appearances, but he was at his best in the 2017 Copa Libertadores. The talented playmaker got Man of the Match awards in the final match against Lanus, and those performances have ticketed him a move to Europe in the near future. He is composed on the ball, possesses an accurate touch and, as Brazilian pundits have said, “it seems he never loses the ball.” Those qualities will be enough to make him thrive in Europe, so it seems more a question of “when” instead of “if” he moves to a top league. La Liga and the Premier League would be perfect for him. Right now, though, the only question is to see which team will secure his services. He has enough quality to play anywhere.
If you have not heard about, read about, or saw Luan playing by now, then you must watch him as soon as possible. The Gremio star was crowned as the Best Player in the CONMEBOL region for his spectacular play during 2017, and he played a huge role during Gremio’s title-winning run in the 2017 Copa Libertadores. Either as a winger, a support striker or an attacking midfielder, Luan always found a way to make an impact. Watching him play was a joy to the eyes, and he also had one of the best performances we have seen in South America in recent years. Luan registered one goal and FOUR assists during Gremio’s 6-3 win over Chapecoense in June 8, 2017.
The 24-year-old only registered 20 Serie A appearances since Gremio also played in the Copa do Brasil and the Copa Libertadores during 2017. But if we account his performances across all competitions, then we can see Luan registered 10 goals and six assists in 35 appearances. The numbers do not tell the whole story, though. Luan is a polished talent that has already been linked with a move to FC Barcelona in the past. Honestly, there is no question he is good enough to thrive in any team in Europe. And as the reigning Best CONMEBOL Player according to Diario El Pais, it is only a matter of time before we can see the versatile winger plying his trade on European soil.
Lucca is a relatively unknown player compared to Arthur and Luan. While the former two are coming off a Copa Libertadores title with Gremio, Lucca plays for Ponte Preta and is already 27 years old. But he cemented his place as one of the best, most versatile forwards in the Brazilian Serie A last season. And it seems the sky is the limit for him, as he simply arrived at the big stage a bit later than expected. But that does not mean he is not as talented as some of his countrymen.
The 27-year-old forward can operate all over the attacking third, but spent most of last season playing as a left winger for Ponte Preta. His numbers were extremely successful, as he ended the Serie A campaign with 13 goals and two assists in 37 appearances. He is a player in his prime so we might never see him playing for a top European side, but there is no question he is good enough to move away from his native country. A mid-tier side in a league such as the Ligue 1, La Liga or even the Bundesliga would be perfect for him in case Ponte Preta decide to cash in on his star forward.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the best centre-back prospect we have seen in Brazil in quite a while. He goes by the name of Rodrigo Caio, and is a 24-year-old defender who could easily play in any team in the world right now. A stout centre-back who has been in Sao Paulo’s first team since he was 19 years old, Caio has progressed immensely over the last 12 months, to the point that he is now a regular member of Tite’s Brazil national team.
It might be too much to see Rodrigo Caio as a starter for La Seleçao in the upcoming World Cup, but his time will come sooner than later. He registered 33 starts with Sao Paulo last season and it is a matter of time before teams start knocking on his door. He possesses a clean touch from the back, is strong on the air, and his positioning is excellent. And frankly, Caio will end up playing in Europe sooner than later. The centre-back might need a few months to adjust, he has enough potential to play anywhere. He would certainly thrive in either La Liga or the Premier League due to his passing ability that resembles him a bit of a mixture between David Luiz and Thiago Silva.
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