Rumours are surfacing that Arsenal are finally close to completing a move for a striker. But Alvaro Morata is not the man supposedly heading to the Emirates Stadium, nor is Gonzalo Higuain. Instead, the Gunners are set to spend £15m on young Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa.
Arsenal fans have been longing for a forward man for some time, after yet another season of Olivier Giroud leading the line, with minimal success. Now, with Danny Welbeck out for the majority of next season and Giroud fast running out of supporters in north London, a new striker has to be priority for Wenger this summer.
While this may not be the big name signing that will thrill the masses at Emirates, there is plenty to like about this young Brazilian Prodigy.
Here are Five things Arsenal fans need to know about Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa…
After impressing in the Brazilian Premier League with Santos, Barbosa received his first international call-up in March and scored on his debut in a 2-0 Brazil win over Panama.
Incredibly, in his very next game in the famous yellow, Gabriel scored yet again, the time against Haiti in the Copa America.
With so many obvious similarities to his compatriot, it is no wonder ‘Gabigol’, as he is affectionately nicknamed, is being touted as ‘the new Neymar’ in his homeland.
Not only does the 19-year-old play his trade at Santos, he also possesses Neymar’s light-footed speed, an eye for both a goal and an assist and the sort of versatility that allows him to play as winger, No.10, or a slightly withdrawn centre-forward.
There is a reason why he is nicknamed ‘Gabigol’!
While the young star is yet to have a Ronaldo-like season of scoring, he has been a consistent threat in front of goal since the tender age of 16 and looks more threatening with every passing season.
In his 148 appearances for Santos, Barbosa has netted 54 times are an average of a goal scored every 2.7 games.
One major flaw to Gabriel Barbosa’s game is his physical strength. At just 5ft.9″, the Premier League could well be a land of giants for the youngster next season.
Commentary from his home nation has highlighted his struggle against strong, physical teams in the Brazilian League; if this is the case, he will need to work on this part of his game regularly before the new domestic season in England.
In the most football-mad nation on this planet, stars are often born, and Brazil think they have found another one.
Not only have former coaches and players come out praising Gabriel but one of the chief scouts in Brazil, Betinho, has given rave reviews of the 19-year-old to the media:
“Many have said that he has no strength and resistance to make it as a professional, but I think he will be the idol of his generation. He is a healthy, dedicated and focused boy, born with the gift of goals.”
Let’s hope so, Arsenal fans.