Marcel Brands must deliver Futebol Clube de Famalicao’s in-demand captain Gustavo Assuncao to Carlo Ancelotti in the January transfer window amid claims of interest from Everton.
According to AS, the Toffees have begun to closely monitor Assuncao’s situation ahead of the winter market, with a host of sides from around Europe also interested in the 20-year-old.
Assuncao is seen to be one of the best players across the Liga NOS after establishing himself as an essential presence in Joao Pedro Sousa’s side following his arrival as an unproven graduate of Atletico Madrid’s academy in 2019.
Assuncao spent 11-years in the Spanish capital but never made a competitive senior appearance, with his only inclusion in a Diego Simeone squad coming as an unused substitute at home to Celta Vigo three months before his move to Portugal.
The son of two-time Europa League winner Paulo Assuncao has since put any doubt over his potential to bed with 47 outings across all competitions, only missing four fixtures last season through injury and an accumulation of yellow cards.
His efforts saw Sousa hand the Brazil U23 international the captain’s armband after just one season, while interest from Sevilla, Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton among many has led Famalicao to demand €25million (£22.8m) for the midfield enforcer.
Assuncao is under contract at the Municipal Stadium Famalicao until 2024 but is expected to leave in either the upcoming winter market or at the end of the season, following a failed move by OGC Nice to strike a deal this summer.
If Everton opt against opening negotiations with Famalicao this winter, Ancelotti, Brands and majority owner Farhad Moshiri will regret their decision as Assuncao’s career is clearly on the up and a successful move to the Premier League or La Liga will make his £22.8m asking price seem like a bargain.
Atletico Madrid will already be remorseful of their decision to sell Assuncao last year with Thomas Partey now at Arsenal, as the Brazil youth international – who holds Portuguese dual nationality – would have been an ideal replacement.
Now, Assuncao has the potential to be Everton’s new Idrissa Gana Gueye, a player the Blues have missed after the years of the Senegal sensation locking down the engine room at Goodison Park coming to an end after he joined Paris Saint-Germain after 108 appearances in Royal Blue.
Assuncao is only 20-years-old but is regarded as one of the best players in the Portuguese top-flight irrespective of positions and he’s evidently boasting a personality beyond his years after he was given the captain’s armband after only one season at the Municipal Stadium Famalicao.
The 5 ft 10 enforcer is backing up Sousa’s belief by locking down the pitch, too, with on average 1.9 successful tackles, 1.3 clearances, 1.2 interceptions, 3.4 ground duels won, 0.8 aerial contests won, 45.7 accurate passes and 61.6 touches a game in the Liga NOS thus far this term, per SofaScore, while netting once.
Ancelotti may not wish to rush the youngster straight into his starting line-up but Assuncao could use that to his benefit by learning from his compatriot Allan, as the Atletico reject concedes 2.3 fouls a game and has been shown five yellows after nine appearances this season.
AND in other news, Everton’s “magnificent find” has every right to fume with Carlo Ancelotti.