Brazil is a country that has provided an endless conveyor belt of talent across the Atlantic Ocean and onto European shores. Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho are just a select few of imports from the Samba nation that took the continent by storm, achieving huge success. There are many youngsters hoping to follow the well-trodden legendary path onto the greatest stage of club football and one such player is Interncaional striker Leandro Damiao. The 22-year-old has been incessantly linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur recently and with the club being accused of faltering at the final hurdle, he could certainly be the man to end their status as underachievers.
Damiao is not your typical Brazilian striker. He is an imposing, languid forward who provides a tremendous physical presence. Capable of scoring any kind of goal, he has already amassed a large portfolio from acrobatic finishes to poacher’s strikes. He rose to prominence last year as he netted an impressive 38 goals in 51 games for Internacional. Deadly in the box, Damiao has a fantastic sense of positioning that frequently puts him in the right place at the right time.
His excellent form for the Porto Alegre side was noted by Brazil coach Mano Menezes who drafted the prolific forward in for international duty. Damiao has since made five appearances for the Selecao with his first international goal coming against Ghana in September last year. Having made a strong case for regular selection, the 22-year-old is now widely tipped to lead the line for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
Despite his youth, Damiao is no stranger to responsibility. A fixture in one of Brazilian football’s premier clubs, the commanding striker is not one to shy away from the big occasion. Not long after his 21st birthday Damiao came on from the bench in the 2010 Copa Libertadores final. With his team narrowly hanging on to a first-leg advantage the striker made an instant impact, putting his side into the lead within four minutes of being on the pitch and leading the side to continental glory.
Another part of that Copa Libertadores winning unit was Sandro, a player who has enjoyed immense development in north London since his transfer. The deal was struck as part of the two clubs affiliation and the midfielder will no doubt attempt to encourage his compatriot to join him at White Hart Lane. Sandro may have endured a difficult start in the English capital but his progression will provide sound reasoning for Damiao to seriously consider a move to Tottenham.
Damiao rapid progression never ceases to amaze and he is becoming an ever more rounded player. Tottenham are looking to make Emmanuel Adebayor’s loan move from Manchester City permanent, but in the Brazilian they would possess ambitious striker, eager to make his mark on the European stage. The Togolese may have impressed during his spell at White Hart Lane, but Damiao offers different qualities. He thrives with the ball played into him and remains composed under pressure. He can retain the ball and involve the players around him, bringing the best out of the supporting wide players and midfielders.
He may not be proven on the European stage but the 22-year-old represents a cheaper and more exciting prospect. Tottenham will face stiff competition to acquire his services with both Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus taking an interest in the striker, but if they can win the race for his signature it could prove to be a real coup in the coming seasons.