There’s no doubt that Vinícius Junior is the next big thing in Brazil. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United being interested in him should underline that further.
The 16-year-old first impressed in the Copa São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest youth tournament, earlier this year. The impact was immediate, especially because scouts from several European clubs were present. At the time, it was claimed Manchester United had made an approach for him.
He was later called up for the U-17 Copa America, and scored seven goals in five games. Besides the title, this achievement gave him the prize of top scorer and best player in the tournament.
This explosion has obviously gone through the world media, and that’s why the Spanish outlets have been recently claiming that Real Madrid and Barcelona would be fighting for the player. Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte says that Barcelona are already working on a priority deal for the time when Vinicius Junior decides to leave Brazil.
But Premier League clubs are keen on signing him as well. Sport Witness has learned that not one or two, but five English sides are following the youngster’s steps. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have all made contact to check the possibility of signing him in the future.
Manchester United have upped their scouting in Brazil under Jose Mourinho, so their interest is no surprise. The purchase of Gabriel Jesus shows Manchester City and Pep Guardiola have an eye on the country, and Chelsea have a long record of recruiting from Brazil, so interest from there may be at a club level rather than down to Antonio Conte.
Arsenal and Liverpool are also frequently linked to players in South America but neither Arsene Wenger nor Jurgen Klopp, or his predecessors, have pushed such deals through recently.
Despite the interest there’s nothing much to be done for now. Vinicius Junior can only leave Brazil when he turns 18, and Flamengo have no intention of lining up a premature deal.
Vinicius Junior hasn’t made his professional debut yet, but the player is already a marketing success, having recorded a commercial with Ronaldinho and Ronaldo this weekend. He currently has a €30m release clause, but according to reports from Brazil, Flamengo’s intention is to extend his contract until 2020 and protect him with a bigger price tag.