7 Brazilian Footballers in Europe Who Could Make Big Moves Soon

Marcus AlvesFeatured Columnist IApril 23, 2020

B/R

Europe remains the promised land for young players in Brazil, but the path to get there is not as tricky as it used to be. 

Making waves for one of Brazil's so-called "Big Twelve clubs" and starring for the Selecao is no longer an essential condition to appear on the radar of European scouts. For every high-profile transfer, there's a number of teenagers who, despite having barely tasted top-flight football, leave home to chase their dreams. 

Some of them have managed to shine abroad and are now ready to take the next step.

Ahead of the summer transfer window, we've compiled a list of seven Brazilian players you might not know much about, but who we believe might be on the move to top sides very soon.

They will all be hoping to become the next Roberto Firmino, who arrived at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga as a relative unknown before making a big-money move to Liverpool.

Honourable mentions: Emerson (21, right-back, Real Betis), Igor Julio (22, centre-back, Fiorentina), Rodrigo Becao (24, centre-back, Udinese), Gleison Bremer (23, centre-back, Torino), Marcos Antonio Bahia (19, midfielder, Shakhtar Donetsk), Raphinha (23, winger, Rennes), Joao Klauss (23, striker, LASK Linz).

      

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Gabriel Magalhaes, 22, Centre-Back, Lille

Why you should be excited about him: He's one of the most wanted left-footed defenders in the world 

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 8: Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes of Lille during the Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC (LOSC) and Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon, OL) at Stade Pierre Mauroy on March 8, 2020 in Villeneuve d'Ascq near Lille, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Gett
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Early in 2017, Lille CEO Marc Ingla spent a couple of weeks in Brazil, travelling around with the country's most powerful agent Giuliano Bertolucci. The Catalan had a long list of transfer targets for his new club and made offers for several young players, eventually capturing four of them: Sao Paulo's duo Thiago Mendes and Luiz Araujo, Santos' Thiago Maia and Avai's Gabriel Magalhaes.

Despite being on the radar of local giants Flamengo and Palmeiras, Gabriel's transfer barely made any headlines back home.

Spotted in the Brazilian second tier, he spent two years without making a single first-team start for Lille and even struggled to secure playing time when loaned out to smaller outlets like Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. Over that time, the closest he got to fulfilling his European dream was by watching a PSG game from Neymar's box at the Parc des Princes stadium.

His fortunes have dramatically changed, though, after coming into the XI in February 2019. He has not looked back since then, establishing himself as one the most talked-about centre-backs in Europe.

Strong, left-footed and incredibly comfortable on the ball, the Brazil under-23 international is now linked with a big move this summer, with Everton in particular heavily linked.

Bleacher Report understands that a host of clubs were offered the prospect of snapping him up earlier this year. Although Gabriel penned a new contract with Elenko Sports agency to represent him, the talks are once again being led by Bertolucci.

Potential Suitors: Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, PSG and Real Madrid

        

Luiz Felipe, 23, Centre-Back, Lazio

Why you should be excited about him: He's been compared by fans to former Milan and Lazio legend Alessandro Nesta

PARMA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 09: Luiz Felipe Ramos Marchi of SS Lazio in action during the Serie A match between Parma Calcio and SS Lazio at Stadio Ennio Tardini on February 09, 2020 in Parma, Italy. (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)
Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Back in late 2018, after a press conference ahead of Brazil's friendly game against Cameroon in Milton Keynes in England, then-assistant coach Sylvinho stayed behind to have a relaxed chat with journalists.

When asked to name which players he had been watching as part of the country's plans to rejuvenate the defence, he mentioned Lazio's Luiz Felipe right away, even though back then it was still unclear where the 23-year-old's international future lied.

Luiz Felipe also holds an Italian passport and had been sounded out to follow in the footsteps of countrymen Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri in representing the Azzurri. Ultimately, though, he decided to stick with Brazil.

He is yet to earn his first international call-up, but that seems to be only a matter of time after his displays in Lazio's three-man defence this season. A quick, agile and intelligent centre-back, he has been touted by Lazio fans as the new Alessandro Nesta.

Such talk might be premature, but it's another sign of how talented the No. 3 is. He has recently switched agents and is now being represented by Stefano Castagna, who brokered the deal that took goalkeeper Alisson Becker to Liverpool from Roma in 2018.

Potential Suitors: Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Milan and Inter Milan

       

Dodo, 21, Right-Back, Shakhtar Donetsk

Why you should be excited about him: He possesses a football intelligence beyond his years

LISBON, PORTUGAL - FEBRUARY 27:Dodo of FC Shakhtar Donetsk celebrates scoring FC Shakhtar Donetsk  first goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between SL Benfica and Shakhtar Donetsk at Estadio da Luz on February 27, 2020 in Lisb
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Since defender Breno was arrested for allegedly setting his own house on fire in 2011, Bayern Munich have adopted a more conservative approach when it comes to signing Brazilian players. Since then, the German club haven't recruited any other footballers straight from Brazil and told former striker Giovanni Elber that his scouting work in the country was no longer needed.

Being already established in Europe seems to have become a Bayern requirement since the Breno episode.

Therefore, Shakhtar Donetsk full-back Dodo is the type of Brazilian who ticks that box after impressing in the first half of the season in Ukraine. Indeed, he was very close to joining the Bavarians in the winter.

The €30 million asking price was deemed too high in the end, but conversations between the two clubs continue.

He now finds himself behind Ajax rising star Sergino Dest on Bayern's shortlist of candidates for the role.

A tiny defender (he's just 5'5") with great pace, he only secured a starting place this campaign after a frustrating loan spell at Vitoria de Guimaraes in Portugal in 2018-19.

That has proved enough, though, for the boy who is now being tipped to succeed Daniel Alves in the Brazil national team.

Linked heavily with: Bayern Munich

       

Carlos Vinicius, 25, Striker, Benfica

Why you should be excited about him: He's an absolute predator inside the area

Benfica's Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius celebrates after scoring a goal during the Portuguese league football match between Gil Vicente FC and SL Benfica at the Cidade de Barcelos stadium in Barcelos on February 24, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP)
MIGUEL RIOPA/Getty Images

With a 2-0 win in the bag after the Lisbon derby against Sporting, Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira showed up in the Alvalade mixed zone to speak to journalists in January. Asked about winter signing Julian Weigl's €20 million cost, he rushed to play it down and brought up another player as an example to silence his critics.

"In the beginning of the season, we also bought one other footballer for €17 million, and sometime later he will perhaps be sold for €100 million," Vieira said.

The €17 million man is Carlos Vinicius, a centre-back converted into a striker who played with Gabriel Jesus at the start of his career in Brazil and possesses a deadly left foot. He currently sits top of the Primeira Liga goalscoring charts having netted 15 times this term.

Vieira's confidence in potentially moving him for his chunky €100 million buyout clause is partly because of the fact that Vinicius is represented by Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes, the same man who came up with a record €126 million offer from Atletico Madrid for teenage sensation Joao Felix.

Vinicius was on the brink of joining Wolverhampton Wanderers last summer, but the transfer fell through after he failed to obtain a work permit for the move to England.

While he's no Felix, he probably personifies better than anyone else Mendes' Midas touch, having gone from the worst side in the Portuguese second division straight to Napoli and then loaned out to Rio Ave and Monaco in a year prior to his move to Benfica. He certainly won't be short of potential suitors.

Potential Suitors: Wolves and Liverpool

      

Diego Carlos, 27, Centre-back, Sevilla

Why you should be excited about him: He's Brazil's answer to Virgil van Dijk

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 7: Diego Carlos of Sevilla FC during the La Liga Santander  match between Atletico Madrid v Sevilla at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on March 7, 2020 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

An imposing figure, Diego Carlos made early headlines at Sevilla for his build, being instantly nicknamed "The Wall" after signing from Nantes last summer. He is, in fact, so strong that the Spanish club have forbidden him from using equipment in the gym and his team-mates jokingly asked him not to humiliate them by taking his shirt off inside the dressing room.

But the 27-year-old is more than muscles.

An aggressive player with great speed and aerial ability, he has proved to be another coup from Monchi, Sevilla's famed sporting director. His impact has been so enormous that despite his age, he's expected to become the club's most lucrative transfer deal ever, surpassing his compatriot Daniel Alves' transfer to Barcelona in 2008.

One of the breakout stars of La Liga this season, Diego Carlos has put himself on the radar of the Brazil national team as well, with assistant coach Matheus Bacchi dropping into Seville to watch him versus Espanyol in February.

Not bad for someone who failed to play a single first-team minute in his homeland and until recently had been better known for receiving a kick from a referee in Ligue 1.

Potential Suitors: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City and Napoli

    

Alex Telles, 27, Left-back, Porto

Why you should be excited about him: He has been called "the Lord of the Assists" in Portugal

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MARCH 07: Alex Telles of FC Porto looks on during the Liga Nos match between FC Porto and Rio Ave FC at Estadio do Dragao on March 07, 2020 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

After failing to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage this season, Porto have reported a €52 million loss and will now be forced to make player sales this summer to avoid financial fair play sanctions. It can only mean one thing: another busy transfer window for the Portuguese heavyweights.

Having refused a lucrative contract extension, Alex Telles looks almost certain to be among those leaving.

He has hired Israeli agent Pini Zahavi to work alongside his sister, Hellen Telles, and get him a move to a top club. Last year, Atletico Madrid tried to secure his signature but were told that they would need to trigger his €40 million release clause.

Porto are still not willing to let Telles go for a bargain fee, even though they promised to hear any offer that comes this time as part of an informal agreement.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, the 27-year-old was enjoying one of his most prolific campaigns in the blue-and-white shirt, chipping in with eight goals and five assists and playing a key role in Porto's run to overtake Benfica at the top of the table. He's the team's top scorer in the Primeira Liga.

Potential Suitors: Chelsea, Juventus, PSG and Barcelona

      

Tete, 20, Winger, Shakhtar Donetsk

Why you should be excited about him: The ball sticks to his left foot like glue

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Tete of Shakhtar Donetsk during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at Etihad Stadium on November 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AM
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Franck Henouda has worked as Shakhtar Donetsk's emissary in Brazil for almost two decades. Over that time, the French-Algerian businessman oversaw the transfers of the likes of Fernandinho, Willian and Fred. He's particularly proud, though, of his latest signing.

"Tete is the real deal. He's a great dribbler, works hard and is down-to-earth," he told B/R.

Although he hadn't featured in a senior match for Gremio, the 20-year-old cost Shakhtar €10 million in 2019. At the time, the move raised some eyebrows, but a year later it already looks like a bargain.

When the Ukrainians pulled off a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in November, he unveiled himself to the footballing world, nutmegging Bernardo Silva and being named man of the match.

It was like he had been playing these big games for years.

His displays have earned him offers from Roma and Milan, but Shakhtar are demanding €50 million to open talks for the boy nicknamed "Hurricane" in Brazil because of his destructive left foot. Tete has the potential to become a world-class winger.

Potential Suitors: Roma and Milan