Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United tracking Roberto Firmino
Bundesliga breakthrough talent of last term, Brazilian attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino of Hoffenheim is on the radar of odds-on Premier League title favourites Chelsea (1/6), and top four chances Liverpool (9/4) and Manchester United (4/7).
Tabloid reports claim all three English top-flight heavyweights are interested in signing the 23-year-old in the January transfer window, but face a real battle to secure his services. A who’s who of Europe’s elite – both Milan clubs, Italian champions Juventus, La Liga holders Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund among others – are tracking Firmino.
Whoever wins the race to take Brazil call-up Firmino from Hoffenheim, he is likely to cost £20m. Samba Boys boss Dunga could ignore the clamour no longer and included him on his roster to face Turkey and Austria, both away, in end of calendar year friendlies.
Firmino scored 16 goals and made a dozen assists in the Bundesliga last term, making him a deserved winner of that breakthrough talent award. This massive contribution helped Hoffenheim to buck the trend of recent relegation struggles.
Dunga has also called up Shakhtar Donetsk attacking pair Luiz Adriano and Douglas Costa off the back of impressive Champions League form, and has since added another of the Ukrainian club’s players, Fred, to the roster.
This is not the same Fred that laboured as a target man up front for Brazil at the recent World Cup on home soil, however. Shakhtar’s Fred is a diminutive attacking midfield player.
The withdrawal of Lucas Moura, a scorer in PSG’s Le Classique victory over Marseille in Ligue 1, has also meant a maiden senior Samba Boys call-up for talented Benfica 20-year-old Anderson Talisca.
All of the Premier League’s top teams are also after that player, and scouts should get a closer look at both Firmino and Talisca in either Istanbul or Vienna. A tempting price of 2/1 says Firmino will score on a potential Brazil bow against Turkey.