Seven Brazilian footballers we want to see in the Premier League
When Andre Villas-Boas was in charge of Chelsea, former Porto charge and Brazil international forward Hulk was strongly linked with following his mentor. Both have since been reunited at Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg.
In an interview with the British press, Hulk is quote as saying: “Joining Chelsea or Real Madrid would make no sense for me, since I’d risk to be benched a lot there, and I know there will always be clubs interested in signing me.”
And that got Coral’s football experts thinking. Which Samba Boys stars would we like to see come to the Premier League? We’ve picked out a magnificent seven, so let’s start with the man who doesn’t want to be a substitute…
Powerful forward Hulk loves to cut inside from the flank for both club and country. This tactic worked for AVB at Porto and doing so to great effect against in St Petersburg, following 11 goals across all competitions and notching nine assists to boot.
As impressive as Hulk’s physique is, though, you have to wonder whether he would be an upgrade on Chelsea’s current right wing option and compatriot Willian? Somewhere like Spurs, under Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino, might be a better fit. Zenit are 7/4 shots to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase.
Defensive midfielders of Cruzeiro’s up-and-coming talent Lucas Silva’s calibre are few and far between. One top Premier League team needs an anchorman more than most, and that’s Arsenal. As revealed earlier in December, the Gunners are interested in adding him to their ranks in the winter window.
Injuries to club captain Mikel Arteta and influential England international Jack Wilshere, plus Mathieu Flamini’s ageing legs mean Lucas would walk into the Emirates XI right now. If he can be as good as namesake and compatriot Gilberto Silva, then odds of 7/2 for Arsenal to win a major trophy would become a real prospect.
Diminutive Shakhtar Donetsk winger Bernard was one victim of the post-World Cup cull following ‘Big Phil’ Luiz Felipe Scolari’s sacking and the reinstatement of Dunga as Samba Boys boss. That does not mean, however, that he is without quality.
Such a low centre of gravity would make Bernard a nightmare to mark for the modern full back. He’d be a welcome edition on Merseyside now, though Everton probably couldn’t afford him, so Liverpool, odds-on at 4/6 to reach the Champions League knockout phase, may throw more money at their problems in January.
PSG centre back Marquinhos has compatriots Thiago Silva and David Luiz ahead of him at the Parc des Princes. What better way to escape their shadow than by becoming a proven Premier League performer?
Champions Manchester City, 9/2 to retain their title, are yet to see much return on their £32m summer outlay on Eliaquim Mangala. Marquinhos, who is robust and has wonderful positioning sense for one so young, could replace the Frenchman and ageing Argentina international Martin Demichelis as Etihad captain Vincent Kompany’s defensive partner. In time, he might even inherit the armband if bought.
Hoffenheim number 10 Firmino recently made his Brazil bow off the back of winning the Bundesliga Breakthrough Talent of the Season award for last term. His once wealthy employers could be looking to offload him, and where better than high-flying Southampton?
As Firmino has excelled at a provincial club, he could provide Saints boss Ronald Koeman with the January shot in the arm he needs. With only Dusan Tadic possessing proper experience of playing off the front (he now occupies a wide right berth), this could be the perfect platform to prove his worth by helping the St Mary’s side to a top four finish at 5/2.
Inter Milan loanee Dodo is far from extinct. Likened to Bayern Munich’s World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm, because of his willingness to play in either full back berth, the Roma-owned player would offer some light relief to defensive issues at Manchester United right now.
Compatriot Rafael could help him settle into Old Trafford, though any winter window move would likely see Dodo pass Anderson on his way out of Manchester. The Red Devils are 7/2 shots under Louis van Gaal to win a major trophy this term.
Benfica’s breakout talent Talisca has shot to prominence very quickly. Bought for a reported bargain of less than £500k up front, eight goals in 11 Portuguese league outings have result in the attacker getting a senior call-up to Dunga’s squad aged just 20.
Still in a formative period, Talisca could be turned into an out-and-out striker, or continue playing off the front. Chelsea will be looking for another forward option if rumours about Didier Drogba’s retirement at the end of the season are true. Blues boss Jose Mourinho is chasing a Premier League and Champions League double, and is an 11/2 chance to deliver both trophies to Stamford Bridge.