Arsenal, Juventus and Atletico Madrid are all in the race for the São Paulo youngster Marquinhos Cipriano, Sport Witness have learned. The 17-year-old, who is yet to debut for São Paulo’s first team, has been monitored by these three clubs as they keep an eye on his development.
Arsenal have been following Marquinhos for over two years. They first watched him at the Copa São Paulo, Brazil’s most famous youth tournament. At the time, the youngster played for Desportivo Brasil, a club who had a partnership with Manchester United, and he attracted the eyes of several European clubs.
One of the Arsenal scouts at the competition watched Marquinhos’ good performances and became interested. He recommended the midfielder to the club, and since then, they keep regular scouting reports on the youngster, and they are pretty aware of his transfer situation.
However, the Gunners will not rush in for the signing. They only want to advance when they are sure the player suits them. The English club would even accept to wait for Marquinhos to prove himself for a smaller European side first and then try to buy him, knowing it could mean a more expensive deal.
Juventus were the only club to make a bid so far. They’ve tried to buy the player for €3.5m, but the offer was immediately rejected by São Paulo. The Brazilian side are not looking to sell the youngster quickly and he will only leave for his release clause, which is €30m (£23m).
Atletico Madrid are considered to be underdogs in the race. They’ve been also watching Marquinhos due to the good relationship the club have with São Paulo and the player’s agent, Juan Figer. But their interest hasn’t been strong as that from the other clubs.
Marquinhos is currently the top scorer of the U17 State Championship, with 12 goals in 14 matches. He’s a very focused young footballer with finishing ability which has been impressing onlookers since his younger years.
São Paulo rate him highly, and won’t even think of negotiating before he’s used by the first team.