Six South American football prodigies, like Andrey Santos and Gino Infantino, will soon join Europe’s top clubs
ENZO Fernandez is the most prominent – and by far the most expensive – of the South American central midfielders’ new Premier League players.
It’s an interesting trend. Fernandez shone brightly in his short tenure at Benfica – one of the explanations for the high price tag. But he’s something of an exception.
Many South American central midfielders find it difficult to adapt to top-flight European football, where the game is so much faster and there is less time to decide what to do with the ball.
Even Bruno Guimaraes, such a vital part of the Newcastle challenge, has had some difficult times settling in at Lyon.
Other big Brazilian hopes like Arthur and Mathias Henrique are yet to live up to expectations.
A few years ago there was a lot of hype about Lucas Silva, who became champion with Cruzeiro in Brazil and is considered the Xabi Alonso of the future.
However, Real Madrid got nothing from him and there was precious little at Marseille either. Almost forgotten, the player moved back to Brazil.
It is therefore interesting to see that Premier League clubs have been willing to take the risk.
Argentina’s Carlos Alcaraz moved to Southampton and Mexi Perrone to Manchester City.
From Brazil, Danilo joined Nottingham Forest, Joao Gomes joined Wolves and Chelsea invested in Andrey Santos.
These are the future stars of South America.
It could be that South America’s best player is still at home.
Fluminense’s Andre was one of the standout players of the last Brazilian season, helping balance an attacking side.
He was voted Team of the Year by most media organizations and topped the stats in passes, tackles and interceptions.
He was closer to a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad than the others and he could have moved into that window.
He decided to stay – hoping that at 21 he can consolidate even further this year and will certainly be watched for next season both domestically and in South America’s Champions League, the Copa Libertadores.
Gino Infantino, Rosario Central
The South American U20 championship is currently in full swing in Colombia.
A couple of recent acquisitions were in action, including Perrone, who showed some brilliant accents but, along with most of his peers, disappointed in an Argentina side that lost three of their four group games and was eliminated early.
However, another central midfielder, Rosario Central left-footed Gino Infantino, was one of the more interesting players on the show.
An attacking player – the 19-year-old tested at Real Madrid in his youth and trained at Villarreal before settling in Argentina.
Andrei Santos, Chelsea
Andre Santos, on the other hand, has done very well, especially considering his professional experience is limited to Brazil’s second division for Vasco de Gama.
Strongly built, a midfield powerhouse, he organizes play from behind, breaks play down the middle and is always ready for an attack on goal.
He has scored five times in the competition – and revealed why Chelsea paid £18million for him in January.
The Blues may have pulled off a feat in signing the 18-year-old before he impressed in Colombia.
Marlon Gomes, Vasco de Gama
Alongside him is former Vasco da Gama teammate Marlon Gomes, 19, a mobile and intelligent talent who is quick to spot an opportunity.
With his calm demeanor, he is also one of the stars of the competition.
Gomes has represented Brazil at U16 and U20 level.
He has also played 18 times for his club in the Brazilian second division.
Fabricio Diaz, Liverpool Montevideo
Uruguay captain Diaz, 20, has shown his procedural powers.
Already an established player at Liverpool – the Uruguayan version – he takes on the responsibility of directing the game from midfield.
His right foot is a subtle weapon and he’s a constant threat from set pieces.
Like Santos, he has scored five goals in six games at the South American U20 Championship.
And he’s not afraid to put his foot in the game – so far he’s picked up three yellow cards in the tournament.
Gustavo Puerta, Bayer Leverkusen
Colombia captain Gustavo Puerta, 19, is playing a similar role but in a more heartbreaking way.
He’s also the organizer and leader, with a rocket in his right shoe that has scored two sensational long-range goals.
And he, like Diaz, Infantino and Marlon Gomes, is a name to watch out for in future transfer windows.
He started his career with second division club Bogota before joining Bayer Leverkusen last January.
They have loaned him to Nürnberg where he will gain important experience in a European league.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7328878/six-wonderkids-south-america-chelsea-real-madrid/ Six South American football prodigies, like Andrey Santos and Gino Infantino, will soon join Europe’s top clubs