Everyone’s linked to Malcom.
In such a situation, you could envisage a scenario where all were interested in his signature, but wanted to wait until the summer to make a move. With Arsenal’s current pressing need to replace the Chilean winger who looks set to depart, either they’re now in pole position, or they’ve forced the hand of their top six rivals to act as soon as possible.
Either way, it’s a lot of fuss about a player not many people in England will have paid much attention to, barring a few mentions in gossip columns and a passing glance at Ligue 1 for most. That’s a shame, though. Because Malcom deserves a closer look. We might well get one this month, but whatever happens this is a player with some potential.
Only 20 years old, he signed for Bordeaux from Corinthians two years ago where he had already amassed dozens of senior appearances. Since then, he’s been growing in stature and since the end of last season, he’s been playing a crucial role for his team.
He’s pacey, direct and tricky, as you might expect from a Brazilian attacker who’s making the headlines around Europe. As a result, any one of the top six teams might be willing to take a punt on him given it’s not quite as risky as it would be were he, say, a centre back.
From the Brazilian’s point of view, though, there’s much to consider. When your name seems to be linked with all the big clubs, making the right choice is vital – so many have failed in that one small matter over the years.
Do you join Arsenal, the club who may be the most willing to take your immediately? They’re the lowest ranked of the top six and are currently stagnating. On the other hand, that might give you the chance not only to make an instant impact, but to become a fan favourite overnight.
Indeed, if this is to be Arsene Wenger’s final season in charge, who knows what might happen at the club next season. It could – on a very optimistic reading – be the perfect time to rock up at the Emirates.
Liverpool, too, would seem to be a good bet for minutes. Despite being just 20 years old himself, Dominic Solanke has already made 14 Premier League appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season even if most are from the bench and the cumulative minutes on the pitch is just a little over 300.
But that’s all down to the extreme squad rotation that Klopp has employed so far this season. As competitions like the Champions League and FA Cup take precedence over the league – where the Reds will still have to make sure of Champions League qualification – that might be a chance to really get into the team despite the form of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
And then there’s Tottenham. If you’re looking for a club who will develop youth, you could do far worse than find a club with Mauricio Pochettino in charge. And, indeed, Spurs could be doing with a pacey player with a bit of flair about him. That’s arguably the final piece of the Tottenham jigsaw.
So what do you do when you’re just a lowly wonderkid with the world at his feet? Which path do you choose? It’s clear that he’ll add something to each of the three sides who are said to be after his signature, and all he’ll have to do, then, is shine once he gets there.
If it’s a three-way battle, do you gamble that Arsenal is a club suffering at the moment but with potential very soon? Do you attempt to break into a front three he’d fit very well but might not be able to dislodge for the biggest games at Liverpool? Or do you go with Tottenham hoping that Mauricio Pochettino develops you just like he did with Dele Alli, and not like Clinton N’Jie or Georges-Kevin N’Koudou?