Reported Liverpool target Vitor Roque is likely to make a move away from Brazil in the next couple of months.
Roque is one of Brazilian football’s brightest prospect, having broken into the Cruzeiro team aged just sixteen. Now eighteen and with Athletico Paranaense, the forward has inevitably been linked with a host of European clubs.
One of those has been Liverpool, who reportedly met with his entourage on a recent visit to England. However, they’re not said to be favourites to secure Roque’s signature. According to Fabrizio Romano this morning that remains Barcelona. Despite that, the Catalan’s precarious financial position could yet open the door for other suitors.
“Vitor Roque’s priority remains Barcelona. He dreams of a move to Barca, and he’s still hoping that’s where he’ll go,” Romano said via CaughtOffside. “But he doesn’t want to wait too long, he wants his future to be resolved in May or June, not at the end of August. His price tag would be around €45m [£40m], but let’s see if Athletico Paranaense could accept a different structure, such as a loan-to-buy deal.
“For Barca, the timing is crucial, but also there is an issue with Financial Fair Play – Barca still don’t know how much they can invest. This could give an opportunity to English clubs to enter the race.”
Liverpool returning to South American market?
When Barcelona are in the hunt for young, South American talent it usually only ends up going one way. For many prospects from the continent, a move to Barca or Real Madrid is a boyhood dream.
Somewhat understandably, English and other European clubs haven’t tended to hold the same kind of allure.
Over recent years though, that perception has started to shift. With clubs perhaps taking Brighton’s lead, talents from South America have now begun to be snapped up by Premier League sides direct from source.
As of yet, Liverpool haven’t really found their feet in that respect. The last player to move directly from South America to Liverpool remains Sebastian Leto, who left Lanus for Merseyside in summer 2007. He followed Lucas Leiva who joined from Gremio in the same transfer window.
A year prior to that, the Reds had also dipped into the Argentinian market to sign centre-back Gabriel Paletta from Banfield. Later in 2006 they snapped up Emiliano Insua from Boca Juniors as well.
Perhaps due to the limited success of that pool of players, it’s now over 15 years since Liverpool bought direct from the continent. That’s a real shame. Given the success of recent signings like Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez though, perhaps they’d be willing to give it another shot. If they do, Roque won’t be the cheapest option out there, but he certainly looks like a prospect. Let’s see where he ends up.