Gabriel Barbosa, known as Gabigol, had a disappointing first season in Europe after leaving Santos last summer. The Brazilian was being watched by lots of European clubs, but he ended up joining Inter Milan.
His spell in Italy has been underwhelming to date as he played a meagre 113 minutes in Serie A and found the net on only one occasion. As a €29.5 million investment, a lot more was expected from the forward, especially considering he was seen as one of the most exciting Brazilian players of his generation.
Bleacher Report suggest that there is a lot of Premier League interest in him this summer and a move to England is a possibility for the player, as his career reaches a crossroads.
West Ham United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, Southampton, Leicester City, Stoke City and Swansea City have all shown an interest in signing the 20-year-old. It is thought that Inter would prefer an initial loan after investing so much in the player last summer.
Although Gabigol himself would like to fight for his place at the San Siro, he will struggle for game time and a loan move to England could provide him with the opportunity that he needs.
Why is Gabigol so highly regarded?
The forward broke through in Brazil at a young age as he made his debut for Santos at 16. He came through at the time Neymar was leaving the club for Barcelona and there was hope that Gabigol would step up to fill his shoes at the club.
As they both developed at Santos, comparisons have been made, but Gabigol is more of a natural centre forward, while he possesses a lot more power than his compatriot.
Gabigol’s future is as a number nine and if he bulks out further, he could be very well suited to the Premier League, despite his 5’9” frame. There is a lot of power to the Brazilian as he can out-muscle defenders as well as beating them on the dribble with his flair.
He is a lot stockier than the typical Brazilian attacker and that should give him an edge as he continues to progress. As a finisher, he is versatile, as he can score with both power and precision. His movement off-the-ball is mature beyond his years and his reading of the game means that he can fill in as a winger.
The spell at Inter has certainly damaged his reputation and the reason why he hasn’t been given more opportunities isn’t clear. There are concerns about his tactical understanding, which is crucial to the game in Italy. It is also difficult to adjust to a new country and it could be that he just needs time to settle at the club.
He remains young and there is a lot of time left for him to prove that he can perform in Europe. Gabriel Jesus was a player he was often compared to in his homeland and he has managed to thrive at Manchester City. Maybe it was a case of choosing the wrong club and a move away from Inter could free the 20-year-old.
Would he be a good fit for the Premier League?
In Brazil, it was his power and aggressive style of play that impressed most. He has the physique to do well in the Premier League, but he would need to hit the gym in order to bulk up. In terms of technical ability, there are few better young players in the world.
At this stage of his development, Gabigol is raw and he needs a coach that is willing to be patient with him as he adjusts to football in Europe. He may have left Brazil too early, but he now needs to press on and a loan move to the Premier League could suit him.
Although a top-six club might be beyond him, he would benefit from playing in a team lower down the league before returning to Inter as a much better player.