According to ESPN Brasil, Arsenal have made a formal offer for the services of young Brazilian talent, Gabriel Barbosa. The report states that Arsenal have made an official bid and that the offer is intriguing to the player.
Known by his nickname, Gabigol, (he’s Brazilian, of course he has an awesome, one-word name) the 19 year old is an attacking player for the Brazilian side Santos where he has scored 54 goals in 148 appearances.
I’ll let the person best equipped to discuss the current confluence of Arsenal and Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Tim Stillman, take it from here:
Would be surprised if Gabigol links for Arsenal were anything other than agent talk tbh (though I have no privileged info on this, obvs).— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
He wants to move to Europe after the Olympics and it sounds like only two clubs have money on the table (Fiorentina and a Chinese club).— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
The report is a little vague and contains an exclusive video clip of an interview with Gabigol from Santos' training ground.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
Further leads me to believe this story has been 'approved' by his reps, probably to create interest with bigger European clubs.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
Also, in fairness, ESPN Brasil not usually the outlet used for agent guff. Plenty of less reputable publications to choose from.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
Also, the Brexit stuff in the story is tenuous at best. But this is me reading between the lines, I reserve the right to be totally wrong!— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
After reading the actual report, I have to agree with Tim on the latter point. Whatever changes Brexit will cause eventually, it does not appear that there will be any changes made this transfer window with regards to work visas, player registration, etc. The only significant issue Brexit might cause in a transfer this summer is the devaluation of the pound impacting the value a thrifty club like Arsenal can get. Hope we’ve been keeping that £200 million reserve in the form of gold bullion.
Sport Witness, a reliable source for gauging the veracity of transfer news, has taken a look at the Gabigol to Arsenal reports. One interesting tidbit: apparently Gabigol has a €18 million release clause for European clubs. Overall, they acknowledge the general reliability of ESPN Brasil reports, but caution that a deal is in all likelihood not done.
Stillman also offered his opinion when asked whether Gabigol would be a good fit for Arsenal:
@CulannDavies yes he can be, big talent. I fancy that he won't ever be physically up to the PL, Spain and Portugual better fits IMO.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 27, 2016
If Arsenal are moving for Gabigol, it certainly would be one for the future. While the youngster may be receiving buzz as the “Next Neymar,” as we know from our experiences with various “Next Henrys,” those analogies tend to come less from actual success and more from nationality, club links, and remotely similar playing style. It remains to be seen whether Gabigol can live up to that level of hype.
Arsenal have become far more active in the youth market in the past year, so it seems very possible they are trying to sign the “Next Neymar” before that type of player costs €130 million instead of €18 million. In this age of big money, €18 million is not much to gamble, especially when the youngster should sell have decent sell-on value to Spain or Portugal even if he cannot cut it in the Premier League.
Stay tuned for more details on this interesting, developing transfer story.