Brazil has long been a hotbed for Premier League talent hunters – and it looks like scouts have found the next exciting prospect in Palmeiras’ Gabriel Menino.
The 20-year-old could draw huge interest from the Premier League after the news that his cash-tight side could be ready to sell him for just £ 13m – despite a hefty £ 51m release clause.
With the ability to play in multiple positions, clubs across Europe are now lining up for his signature – including Chelsea and Tottenham – but if he becomes available at a discounted price, they will face stiff competition from the United States. powermakers on the continent.
But what are Menino’s best qualities, what kind of player is he and what makes him such an attractive proposal for top clubs? Sportsmail gives the low point on Palmeiras’ latest prospect.
Palmeiras star Gabriel Menino is drawing a lot of attention from teams all over Europe
WHO IS HE?
Starting at Guarani FC in Brazil’s second division in 2013, Menino started out as an exciting center-back with an explosive pace, but he soon showed coaches that he could have a future in midfield thanks to his ability to jump forward and get into promising positions in the box.
Having successfully developed his game, he was noticed by top outfit Palmeiras four years later at the age of 16 – he spent two years with their academy hone his skills, and later helped the youth side to the U17 Copa do Brasil to win.
He would have to wait another year before joining the first team – and it was a memorable debut campaign as he performed 26 times and added two more pieces of his silverware to his collection when Palmeiras won the triple title of the top flight, Brazilian . Cup and the Copa Libertadores.
The versatile 20-year-old started his career as a defender but has moved to midfield
He has already won three trophies after an excellent start to his career at Palmeiras
Not a bad start – especially considering his campaign was badly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
All this progress has not gone unnoticed on the national stage. He played seven games for the Selecao U20 team, but got his first international call-up from Brazilian boss Tite in September.
While he didn’t play – forced to retire after a positive test at Covid – it’s clear he is comfortable running for a future outing and will have even more opportunities to show what he can do at the highest level and surrounded by quality. players.
WHAT IS HIS PLAYING STYLE?
Like most Brazilians, Menino has a lot of skills and will show that skill wherever he is on the field.
And this man is getting close. He’s had that base as a center-back, so he has no problem filling in there if needed – and his speed and acceleration have made him a useful asset on both right back and the wing in an advanced position.
He’s strong too – which is why he has been compared by some to the former Manchester City midfield general Yaya Toure, and can often be seen dancing around his opponents in the middle of the park and threateningly rushing forward at the defense.
Menino has been compared to Yaya Toure due to his explosive style as a box-to-box player
He’s the whole package – with great vision, dribbling ability and flexibility to play in many roles
Menino is something of an all-rounder: a box-to-box star that’s the whole package. He prefers to play on the right side when deployed as a midfootball player. His ability to play with both feet could be an element he could do with a bit more work as he gets higher up and attracts more attention.
He’s not much of a goalscorer, he’s only scored one senior goal – but if that hit was any indication of what to expect, then he’s set the bar pretty high.
The youngster broke his duck with a staggering long-distance ride of about 35 meters in the Copa Libertadores against Bolivar to make it 2-0 and help their progress towards lifting the trophy.
Menino is strong too – with great skills in the middle of the park trying to hire people
But what he lacks in goals he certainly makes up for in his creativity – he shows excellent vision and performance and has delivered six assists this season.
In his last handful of start for the team, he played a draw in the center and right wing – as he did when he played the Copa Libertadores final – but has also been used as a fullback this season.
It is this adaptability that makes him such an attractive proposition and his willingness to switch his game to pose a threat in different areas.
WHO IS INTERESTED?
Chelsea and Tottenham head the names and keep an eye on Menino in England, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, but they won’t be alone in their interest as some major European teams are also on the hunt for him.
Juventus is also big admirers in Brazil, in addition to LaLiga outfit Atletico Madrid, according to UOL.
New Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been experimenting with his options this season as he seeks his best combination in midfield – but Menino’s ability to add depth to the right back and provide competition to Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James – would certainly interest him. .
Thomas Tuchel is said to be enthusiastic and would admire his ability to play as a right back as well
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus are also potential suitors for Menino
The Blues don’t have too many indisputable names on the right flank either, so he’d bolster that area too, as well as add Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the center. Spurs, meanwhile, are clamoring for some creativity in their midfield, with Jose Mourinho saying he is looking for a creative star who can help his side open up teams.
It could be that Menino thinks he will play most of the football. His versatility helps, but settling in will be difficult at Chelsea, given their ability to attract a large number of top players.
W.WHAT HAS BEEN SAID?
It’s no coincidence that Menino has been linked with Yaya Toure – his youth coach specifically advised him to observe the former Ivory Coast star’s style as he climbed through the ranks.
Speaking to ESPN, Gustavo Nabinger shared how he worked closely with Menino to help him transition from defense to midfield.
“I used to work at Guarani and was the under 14 and 15 coach,” he said.
Menino has been one of Palmeiras’ most promising stars to break through in recent years
“We had an agreement with Morungaba’s ‘Bugrinho’ and they always brought us promising players to watch.
Menino ended up as a center-back at the end of 2013 and was quickly approved. But I quickly changed positions because he was good at moving forward and getting into the box.
He drew well, as he does now, and he was strong for his age, but not very tall.
He graduated to a higher age group and trained for most of the year. He played 10 games, but mostly sat on the bench. We talked a lot and I let him watch videos of Yaya Toure. ‘
Brazilian boss Tite sees a future for him as a right back after giving the player his first call-up
With Menino finally receiving his first call-up for Brazil, Tite admitted the youngster was a serious talent for the national team, saying he felt his ability to play as a right back could work for Brazil, challenging him to the position. its own.
“He played seven games in that position for Palmeiras,” he said last year after calling him up for World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru in October.
He also trained as a fullback as a youth. We looked at all of his personal and technical capabilities. We followed its entire history and also watched four games in the stands and eight on television. He is a new talent emerging in a critical position for us. ‘
The player himself shows passion and pride for the shirt he wears – and after fulfilling every young Brazilian’s dream of being selected for his country, he couldn’t help but hide his emotions – explaining his shock when he got the nod from Tite.
Menino admitted that he was full of emotion after the news that he had been selected by the Selecao
“I was having lunch with my mom, my agent called and he congratulated me,” he told UOL. ‘And I said,’ Again? ‘I thought it was for my purpose [against Bolivar]
He then said I was going to wear the yellow shirt, but I didn’t understand. So he sent the video. I was emotional, my mom was too, we cried together and then I started to understand. ‘
Year after year, many young Brazilian stars emerge – but not many of them have had the same rapid impact as Menino.
The challenge for this exciting and versatile talent is to maintain the extraordinary level of consistency and maturity that he has displayed over the years.