January Transfer Window: 5 Brazilian Players Not Yet Ready for a Move to Europe
The January transfer window is just around the corner, and, once again, Brazilian players will be a much sought-after commodity in Europe and beyond.
It has been the same story for many years: a talented Brazilian youngster emerges and is quickly whisked off into the wide and varied lands of European football, whether he is ready for the move or not.
Many players have succeeded in making the transition at an early age, but there have been notable examples of players making a move to Europe before fully establishing themselves.
These lost stars have then found themselves consigned to the scrapheap after failing to make the grade in a new country. They are destined to never reach their full potential.
So, which current players could do with a bit longer in their homeland before making the big move?
Flamengo attacking midfielder Adryan has been linked with a move to Manchester United for some time, having held initial talks with the Red Devils in early 2011 over a possible move to European football, according to goal.com.
Now 18, Adryan has been slowly introduced to the Flamengo first team this campaign but has not yet been able to string together a consistent run of games in a settled role.
The Carioca side have seen three managers at the helm this campaign, whilst the team struggled in the lower reaches of the table for much of the year, meaning that the ability to slowly introduce youngsters to the first team was greatly inhibited.
Adryan did, though, show glimpses of what he can offer with a couple of delightfully finished goals and a curled 25-yard free kick to his name.
Fast, nimble and quick-footed, the youngster often played off the centre-forward but is more suited to a more traditional No. 10 role in the long-term future.
The South American Under-20 championship in January is his next challenge, and rave reviews may force more opportunities at club level.
For now, though, talk of Europe is premature, and the teenager must learn to adapt his game to senior level in the Brazilian game.
Promisingly, there is already talk of a contract extension on the way, according to O Globo.
The inclusion of Wallace in this list is, of course, particularly relevant given that his transfer to Chelsea has already been arranged for June 2013 according to ChelseaFC.com—giving him only six more months in the Brazilian game.
The next six months, then, will be important for Wallace's future as he will be judged on arrival at Chelsea as to his readiness for a place in the first-team squad.
At present, you would have to say he is not at that level.
The 18-year-old full-back is yet to play a consistent run of games for Fluminense, often featuring as a substitute or when the first-team squad are being rested. The result has been that he is often played out of position at left-back when appearing from the bench.
That is not necessarily a bad thing, though. The ability to read the game from more than one position is an important stage in the development of many players.
Wallace will be hopeful of getting a string of first-team games in the coming months as Fluminense look to compete for honours in multiple competitions.
First up for the right-back will be the South American Under-20 championship, which will offer a good test of his development against a variety of opponents and formations.
Felipe Anderson (Santos)
Another player heading to the South American Under-20 championship in Argentina next month is Santos playmaker Felipe Anderson, who enjoyed a fine second half of the 2012 season following the departure of Ganso.
Felipe Anderson had been a worry for Santos fans, who often found that the game passed him by early in the season—when he was often used as part of a second-string side while the seniors battled for Libertadores glory.
When the first-team players returned to the starting lineup from late June onwards, the 19-year-old was given the chance of a run of games and gradually eased himself into a very important role for O Peixe—scoring six goals and bagging four assists before the season was complete.
With Lancenet reporting that Santos is close to signing Argentine Walter Montillo for the 2013 season, Anderson may be forced from his No. 10 role into other areas of the midfield next season, but it will all help towards his overall development.
A move to Milan, as has been suggested by Globo Esporte, after just a few months of consistent football at first-team level would be too soon for a player finally beginning to bloom at senior level.
Douglas Baggio (Flamengo)
Douglas Baggio is already one of the most famous youngsters in Brazilian football, despite having only recently made his first strides at the Under-20 level for club side Flamengo.
Linked with Chelsea and Real Madrid according to dailymail.co.uk earlier this year, the 17-year-old has enjoyed a particularly impressive season at youth level, leading the Rio de Janeiro Under-17 championship with 46 goals and earning his call-up to the Under-20 side.
The youngster will now play in January's prestigious Copa São Paulo youth tournament and has already expressed his hope of making the step up to first-team level next campaign.
The fact remains, though, that he is some way off first-team level and a move to any of the European giants linked would delay progression even further.
At Flamengo, he will surely follow in the footsteps of Adryan in making a slow but steady adaptation to first-team level over the next 18 months.
A pacy second-striker, Douglas has proved his technical ability and ability to score goals at youth level. It will be interesting to see how he continues his adaptation to Under-20 level football in January.
Victor Andrade (Santos)
Another of the most-hyped prospects in Brazilian football, Victor Andrade shot to fame as a 16-year-old in 2011 after signing a contract containing an enormous €50 million release clause according to Sambafoot.com.
After a fairly lacklustre showing at the 2012 Copa São Paulo youth tournament in January, Andrade picked up his play as he made his first-team debut in June whilst still only 16 years old.
Given his age, Santos were understandably cautious about throwing him in at the deep end, but the young centre-forward eventually went on to make 19 appearances and score three times for the club by the end of the campaign.
By December, though, Victor Andrade was back in the Under-20 side at the club after a minor dispute with manager Muricy Ramalho over his off-the-pitch media activities. The coach eventually felt the need to point out to the youngster that he was still a "project" of a player.
The agile centre-forward has now had a taste of first-team football but will continue in the Under-20 side for January's Copa São Paulo competition.
There may be a buzz in Europe surrounding his name and release clause, but he is still far from ready to make the move at this point.