The rumours linking Santos starlet Gabriel Barbosa with Chelsea have picked up steam over the last few days, with a host of news sites now linking The Blues with a move for the young forward.
Whilst reports have gone back and forth on the likelihood of the deal, The Mirror reported yesterday that Chelsea were hopeful of the deal, after receiving a boost after Barbosa reportedly confirmed his interest in the move.
Some fans may already know him; he is a long time FIFA and Football Manager star and his YouTube compilation videos have made a lot of fans aware of his talents.
However, whilst the deal is looking more and more likely by the day; there are still some fans that are unaware of who Barbosa is, and what he might bring to the table for this new look Chelsea side.
If the deal DOES happen, Chelsea fans need to know exactly who their new man is, and why the club have been after him for so long.
Here are FIVE things that Chelsea fans should know about Brazilian starlet Gabriel Barbosa
Gabriel Barbosa was born in 1996, and was raised in Sao Paulo, for whom he turned out for until he was 8 years old.
He was discovered by Santos in 2004, and was subsequently signed to the club on a youth deal. By the end of 2012 he was training with the Santos first team, and was subsequently signed to a professional deal, with a €50 million buyout clause attached.
He reportedly scored 600 goals during his youth career, which promoted a promotion to the Santos first team.
He made his debut aged 16, and has been turning out for the side ever since, making a name for himself across Europe.
As we’ve already discussed, despite Barbosa’s tender years – he is an absolutely prolific front man.
The fact that he scored 600 goals during his youth career is inconceivable, especially considering that he started to feature in the Santos first team aged 16.
This form has continued into his professional career, typically averaging around 1 goal in every 2 games; despite competing against older players players with far greater experience and typically being played out of position on the wing.
His consistent goal scoring record has only gotten better with years, and this is what has lead a number of clubs, including Chelsea, to start looking at the young Brazilian. Goalscoring is not his only attribute however…
Obviously goals are a huge part of Barbosa’s game; but his a plethora of other qualities that make him an excellent all round talent.
He is an expert finisher, as evidenced by his goal scoring record, having made a name for himself as a poacher within the Brazilian leagues. A hugely technical player, he is able to score with both feet and posses the mental knowhow to get himself into the right positions.
He typically values a precise well timed shot, rather than a snatch and grab type; giving him an excellent conversion rate.
His pace is also a major quality of his, and whilst he might be a little slow off the mark, he is able to latch onto through balls with ease once he gets to speed.
However, like many Brazilian stars, one thing he does lack is the physical presence needed to perform in the Premier League.
Of course, at this point, this is not a major issue. Given his tender years, at just 19 years of age he has a long time to develop and consolidate his play style. Under a tough manager like Conte he would no doubt be able to develop that side of his game.
As a result of this lack of physicality, he also sometimes lack the aerial ability that Chelsea fans have gotten used to, typically preferring to play with his boots on the ground.
These are all things he can improve though – he has all the natural ability in the world.
Those fans who do recognise Barbosa’s name will no doubt have seen the parallels between him and Santos legend Neymar – and it is true, they do have a lot in common, and not least in both the goalscoring record and play style similarities between the pair.
Barbosa replaced Neymar in the Santos legend’s final appearance, in what many spoke of as a passing of the torch. Like Neymar, Barbosa wears the number 10 shirt for Santos, and came through the very same Santos academy.
Barbosa has also gained a cult-like status at Santos, as Neymar did before him, in becoming a club icon despite his tender years.
Now, seemingly, like Neymar – Barbosa is keen on a big money move to Europe.
The parallels between the pair are clear, and with Neymar coming to Europe and fitting right in – Chelsea fans will be hoping that Barbosa will be able to do the same with The Blues next season.