Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Yerry Mina scouting report: Why the Barcelona-bound dance master could be the next great centre-back

He's got moves, you cannot deny that.

Yerry Mina, the Colombian defender who is starring for Palmeiras in Brazil, celebrates goals with moves that would make Fred Astaire green with envy – and is partial to a jig in his spare time, too.

That would be neither here nor there were Mina not also a very promising footballer, but he's got that covered too. Powerful in the air and capable with the ball at his feet, he has been the most impressive centre-back in Brazil over the last year, and a deal is already in place for him to move to Barcelona.

Find out all about the 22-year-old in my latest scouting report for Unibet.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wendel scouting report: Meet the ice-cool Fluminense midfielder who has Barcelona and Milan scouts swooning

At times, it's tempting to think of football as a complicated beast. Then someone comes along and reminds you of the simplicity. at its core You get the ball, you pass it, you put it in the net.

He may only be four months into his senior career, but already Wendel is one of those players who makes everything look easy. The 19-year-old has taken to the Fluminense starting XI like a duck to water, belying his tender years with displays of real class and confidence.

It's little wonder European scouts are already queueing up to get first dibs. Barcelona and Milan have already made enquiries, while Sporting Lisbon are also rumoured to be keen on his services.

But just who is Wendel and what would he offer a team on this side of the Atlantic? Find out in my latest Unibet scouting piece.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Barcelona tipped to sign Lucas Lima, the Santos star with "something of Rivellino or Gérson" about him

Those who have had even half an eye on the Brazilian domestic game over the last three of four years will be well acquainted with the talent of Santos playmaker Lucas Lima.

The 26-year-old has long been one of the country's best players, laying on countless assists and breaking into the Brazil team despite resisting the lure of Europe.

Well, resisting until now, at least. For reports suggest that Lucas will soon be on his way to the old continent, with Barcelona tipped to sign him on a free transfer when his Santos deal expires at the end of the year.

In my latest for The Independent, I look at that move and explain why, for all Lucas' talent, it would be something of a gamble for all parties.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Rodrigo Caio scouting report: São Paulo's Mr Versatile ready for Europe after putting injury woes behind him

Some people in Brazil call him a Mauricinho – a daddy's boy – because he's got nice hair and choses his words carefully. But while Rodrigo Caio might not be your typical street footballer, there's a proper player there.

The São Paulo man has been tipped for the top for some time, but his progress was slowed by a serious knee injury in 2014. Now, though, having established himself as one of the most cultured defenders in Série A and broken into the Brazil squad, his star looks to be in the ascendency again.

I profile the Tricolor's Mr Versatile in my latest Brazilian scouting report on the Unibet blog. You can read it here.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Guilherme Arana scouting report: Why Corinthians' nutmeg master could be the next great Brazilian full-back

Next up in my summer series of Brazilian scouting reports for Unibet is one Guilherme Arana.

The Corinthians full-back, already a Football Manager legend in some quarters, has had an excellent few months for his club, impressing with his lightning-quick forays down the left and fine delivery.

The 20-year-old has already been linked with Manchester United, Sevilla, Ajax, Internazionale and Schalke, but admits his dream is to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Find out more about him here.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Luan scouting report: Liverpool target has enchanted Grêmio fans and can do the same in Europe

Ding, ding ding!

Hear that? That's the big silver bell that signals the start of transfer silly season in Europe. No football for the next few months, amigos, just that old cocktail of myth, conjecture and soda. Always water it down with sod

Most deals will be done between sides in the Old Continent. But chances are there will be a few Brazilians knocking about on the radar of the big clubs, who will be keen to snaffle the new Gabriel Jesus, or perhaps the new Vinícius Júnior before he's even out of nappies.

To that end, I have started a summer series of scouting reports on the best prospects in the Brasileirão for Unibet. First up, naturally, is Luan of Grêmio, who has been linked with Liverpool.

Friday, 2 June 2017

'A full-back is everybody's friend' – on Dani Alves and Marcelo, Brazil's Chuckle Brothers

There are other attacking full-backs, but few near their level and none who make more compelling demands for your attention. 53 trophies between them, most of them in Europe's toughest competitions, tell some of the story, but their true greatness is to be located in the heart. To watch Marcelo and Dani Alves play is to remember why you fell in love with football in the first place.

There is a wide-eyed, forward-facing innocence to their play. It is there in every foray down the flank, every daft bit of skill, every laser-guided cross. Every celebration and off-field interaction, too: Alves is what Brazilians would call brincalhão – a joker, a goofball – and Marcelo is no shrinking violet. They are serious competitors and seriously good at their jobs, but neither fact quells the feelgood factor. Nor should it, either.

Read my pre-Champions League final piece on the two players who, more than any others, make full-back fun on the Eurosport website.