Scouting Marquinhos: Rumoured Summer Transfer Target for Barcelona
According to Football Espana, Barcelona are looking at Marquinhos this summer in an attempt to shore up their defensive line.
A €20 million bid has been touted as an extreme possibility, and it's a link that has most Cules very, very excited.
Marquinhos is an 18-year-old central defender with the world at his feet. He was loaned to Roma in July 2012 from Corinthians after just a handful of appearances, and his first season in Italy was supposed to be educational.
But his development was so astoundingly rapid—arguably more so than Raphael Varane's—that he quickly clocked up the number of appearances that forced the permanent transfer.
He's now a regular in an impressive Roma side, and it's truly odd to see a boy who still wears braces boss seasoned Serie A strikers with ease.
All facets of the game come easily to Marquinhos, and the coaching combination of Zdenek Zeman and Aurelio Andreazzoli has seen him play in a variety of different tactical systems. He's handled them all superbly.
A regular 18-year-old, not long removed from his native Brazil and boyhood club, would struggle to adapt to the topsy-turvy nature of the Giallorossi, but the defender has displayed an apt thirst for learning on the job.
He's played in a three-man defensive line as a central centre-back and an outside centre-back, a two-man line in partnership with a variety of colleagues and, against Milan on Sunday, right-back.
It's difficult to pinpoint his best characteristic considering his array of strengths, but his timing is something established defenders will admire.
He sniffs out danger early, he's an interception machine and positions himself perfectly to deal with crosses, through-balls and shots.
Natural mobility is a strong suit, and this has allowed him to keep up with attackers stride for stride. He hasn't finished growing and will become a stronger, more imposing man, but for now that hardly matters as his timing and judgement is so good.
To play centre-back at Barcelona is something else, but Marquinhos is one of a select group who could do it.
His adaption process at Roma was startlingly fast, and he'd have to go through those motions again to play under Tito Vilanova.
He has the pace and agility to play a high line, boasts better defensive instincts than most already and has proven himself an able passer.
To see him turn out at right-back against Milan was a surprise, but he simply added another string to his bow. His awareness, attacking intent and positioning were all spot on.
He's still unproven, having had only half a season in the Roma first team, but there's easily enough there to suggest the sky's the limit. He's a sponge, learning everything he needs to and never looking back.
So, €20 million? Well worth it.
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