Why Leicester City's £23m bid for Santos' Gabriel Barbosa is a huge sign of intent
Leicester City haven’t finished in the transfer market and want to add more players to their squad before the end of the month. The Guardian report that they have made a €27 million (£23 million) bid for Brazilian international Gabriel Barbosa, who is also known as Gabigol. It would be a huge coup if Leicester manage to sign the forward, as he is being tipped as one of the Brazilian stars of the future.
He has been scouted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs and Leicester face competition to sign Gabigol. Inter Milan and Juventus have submitted bids of €25m, with both keen to sign him this summer. Although he is contracted until 2019, a move could be on the cards in the coming weeks. The player and his entourage want to wait for the Olympics to finish before making a decision, which could cause problems as Leicester want a quick resolution to their chase.
Santos have a proud history of developing fine young players, with both Pele and Neymar coming through the ranks at the club. Gabigol is hoping to follow them and he has been tipped by some people to be an even greater prospect than Neymar. That may be expecting too much, but it highlights the talent he possesses and how highly thought of he is in his homeland.
As would be expected from his nickname, Gabigol is a good finisher and has scored some crucial goals for Santos over the last couple of years. Like Neymar, he is technically gifted and that is shown when he runs with the ball. His close ball control coupled with his quick feet allow him to beat opponents with relative ease. Gabigol is also a hard worker and his all-around game mark him as a lot more than just a goal-scorer. He can influence matches from deeper areas and on the wing, where he is often deployed. Moreover, he has a quick turn of acceleration which aids him when used on the wing.
He still has a long way to go until he reaches the level Neymar is at and there are some glaring weaknesses in his game. In terms of physicality, he needs to develop further if he is to be a success in Europe. He can get away with it in Brazil, but the physical nature of the European game, especially the Premier League will require Gabigol to work on his upper body strength. The youngster is also inconsistent and games can pass him by. If he wants to be seriously considered as one of the best in the world, he needs to become more influential and not get frustrated if things aren’t going his way.
Leicester have made some impressive moves this off season, and Ahmed Musa has strengthened their front-line. The future of Riyad Mahrez is still up in the air, with Arsenal looking to sign him. Gabigol may be viewed as a replacement for the Algerian, as the young forward can be effective on the right wing. He is left footed and can cut in from the right to strike at goal. At the moment, he lacks the physical presence to play as a number nine in England, therefore it wouldn’t be the worst idea to use him on the right.
Gabigol is at the centre of a bidding war between several clubs and it would be a surprise if Leicester manage to win the race for the youngster. It shows Leicester’s ambition that they are making significant bids for a player with Gabigol’s reputation and potential. This would have been unthinkable 12 months ago, but Leicester are in a great position and seem determined to continue their growth. If Riyad Mahrez leaves and Gabigol arrives, it will be a statement to the rest of Europe that they aren’t going anywhere. Although Gabigol isn’t the finished article, he is a huge talent and it would be impressive if Leicester win the race for him.
— The Boot Room (@tbrfootball) August 10, 2016
Featured image: All rights reserved by santosfc
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