SAO PAULO (AP) — Rising young Brazilian players are keen to join European leagues during the current transfer window. They're considered long-term prospects for the national team, so now could be the time to secure the best deals.
Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
The 22-year-old Corinthians midfielder has become a dynamic box-to-box player. Queiroz' energy and pace earn him comparisons with former Brazil, Tottenham and Barcelona player Paulinho. The midfielder has improved his marking skills at the same time his runs have cleared gaps for the team's wingers. He has also played as a right-back with reasonable success.
It might be a little exaggerated to compare 17-year-old striker with World Cup winner Ronaldo. But they do have some things in common: both started their careers playing for Cruzeiro and both have made an impact from an early age. The youngster has scored two goals in 11 Brazilian championship matches for Athletico and another that helped his team advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores. He can play on the right and as a target man.
The 19-year-old Santos striker has scored 14 goals in 35 matches this year, which makes him one of the few bright spots for his team. Last year, he had seven goals in 40 matches. The sharp dribbler and accurate finisher has reportedly negotiated to play in the English Premier League, though the club is still a mystery. Leonardo is a less inventive player than other players who left Santos as academy graduates.
The 18-year-old striker has started only five matches for Fluminense since he became professional last year, but scouts saw enough of his speed and flair on the left wing for him to be linked to Italy's Udinese and Russia's Lokomotiv Moscow. Martins scored five goals in 25 matches for the Rio de Janeiro club, which reportedly refused offers of 6.5 million euros ($6.5 million) for him. He has appearances for all of Brazil's national teams since U15, excluding the senior team.
The 22-year-old Coritiba striker did so well with his runs and dribbles in the first half of the season that his club extended his contract to 2024 and inserted a release fee of 50 million euros ($50 million). He has been linked to Portuguese clubs Porto and Benfica. Paixão prefers to play on the left wing but can also go on the right. This year, he scored 11 goals in 32 matches for Coritiba, which has prompted some fans to compare him to Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr.
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Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press