Reports surfaced on Tuesday which stated that Manchester United had moved into pole position to sign highly-rated Brazilian forward Gabriel Barbosa, who is nicknamed Gabigol. It is yet to be seen how reliable the report is, especially as it comes from The Sun, which isn’t known for breaking transfer stories with regularity. However, it would be an interesting move if it does develop into something more substantial.
The Sun report that Jose Mourinho has made a £30 million move for the Brazilian and that a deal could be completed within the next 48 hours. That timeframe looks hopeful, especially as the player is currently competing in the Olympics in his native Brazil. It has long been said that the striker’s future will be decided after the Olympics are concluded. Brazil are desperate to secure a gold medal for the first time in their history and do not want any of their players to be distracted.
The link to Manchester United has come out of left-field as he was expected to move to either Inter Milan or Leicester City this summer. Atlético Madrid and Juventus are also in the running for the Brazilian’s signature, but this is the first time Manchester United have been mentioned as a possible destination for Gabigol. It is hardly surprising that there are a lot of clubs trying to sign him as he is one of the most exciting talents in the world.
Manchester United failed in their chase for Gabriel Jesus, with the teenager opting to join their local rivals Manchester City. Therefore a move for Gabigol makes sense as they have been scouting in Brazil. They are both fine prospects and it would be great for the Premier League if Gabigol joins his compatriot in Manchester.
He will add a great deal to the Manchester United front-line if he does sign. They lacked pace against Bournemouth, with Anthony Martial the only player in the first eleven capable of exploding forward. Gabigol will provide that with his acceleration, while his breathtaking skill makes him difficult to defend against.
Gabigol has the ability to beat players and has an eye for a pass in the final third. Although he isn’t selfish and loves to create chances for others, he is a clinical finisher when opportunities in front of goal come his way. He has struck in plenty of important situations for Santos since breaking through and has already found the net for the Brazilian national team. Mentally, he is grounded and works extremely hard to better himself, which shows the excellent mentality he possesses.
Despite his talent, it would be a risk to spend £30 million on Gabigol as he would be coming to Europe for the first time and he is still young. In terms of physicality, he isn’t at the level required for the Premier League. The robust style of England’s top flight would be something new for Gabigol to deal with, but he has the right mentality to deal with a move to Europe and adjust to the league given time.
The links to Gabigol create doubts about the role Marcus Rashford will get to play at Manchester United this season. He did not feature in the club’s opening match against Bournemouth, despite Jose Mourinho appearing to be a fan of the academy graduate. He is already behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial at the club. If they sign Gabigol for the fees being talked about, it would be expected that the Brazilian would get minutes.
That being said, Gabigol is a versatile attacker and capable of playing a number of roles. He can be used as a striker, number ten or a wide forward. Therefore he may not be in direct competition with Marcus Rashford. As he would need to bulk up if he came to England, it would be likely that he began on the wing, as such he wouldn’t be taking minutes away from Rashford.
I remain sceptical about the source of the story, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some truth in it. Mourinho wants to build Manchester United into a behemoth once more and Gabigol would be a great signing. He wouldn’t be expected to make a huge impact immediately, but in the future, he could develop into one of the best attackers in the world. It has been a huge summer of spending for Manchester United and Gabigol would cap it off perfectly.
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