Gabriel Barbosa: Copa Libertadores star due second chance in Europe?

Brasília - A seleção Brasileira enfrenta a seleção do Iraque pela primeira fase do futebol olímpico, no estádio Mané Garrincha, em Brasília (Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil)

When the teen sensation Gabriel Barbosa burst onto the scene, the footballing world was bracing themselves for another Brazilian superstar. We had every right to; Latin America just seems to churn out talent after talent.

However, a move to Inter Milan had led to the stagnation of his development. With ‘Gabigol’ now re-affirming his ability back in the homeland [via a loan move to Flamengo], it seems as if Gabriel Barbosa will be back in Europe soon enough.

Gabriel Barbosa

The recently recalled centre forward had become a fan favourite in the self -proclaimed, best-supported club on the planet: Flamengo. This season has seen Gabriel rack up 27 goals and 3 assists in 33 games. A self-emblazoned 40-million strong ‘country’ had taken to their new prodigal son.

Gabriel Barbosa has been sensational in the Copa Libertadores too. If you had doubts of him being a ‘player for the big stage’, think again. I’m writing this just after he’s just scored a late brace to win South America’s most prestigious trophy for Flamengo. The side’s first since 1981, incredible moment. This will without doubt get attention from Europe’s biggest sides. Gabigol is back and he’s raring to go again.

After scoring once in two years, with Inter and on loan at Benfica, one feels as if the pressure has now been lifted off his 5ft 7in frame.

Gabriel Barbosa – Style of Play

Facing up to defenders and using his athleticism to create opportunities for his team have always been key assets. The Santos youth product’s reading of the game has improved, helping him position himself better as a number nine. More consistent, he can now produce explosive movements in the right situations. Gabriel Barbosa is finally back to the striker that made Inter put pen to paper. And we love it.

Any other scenario in which a 23-year-old striker tears up the Brazilian league would see Europe’s top clubs lining up at the auction house for him. However, Barbosa’s history in on the continent has meant his options now aren’t as flamboyant as they were in 2016.

Options for Gabigol

We have your typical English culprits looking to find their affirmed centre forward, in Crystal Palace and West Ham. The latter is looking for a strike partner for Sébastien Haller. After seeing how effective the Frenchman is against Premier League defenders, they are now working on stopping him from becoming so isolated in big games. The Eagles, on the other hand, never seem to be satisfied, do they? Benteke seems past it, Ayew a stopgap and Zaha looks to be on his way out. But could ‘Gabigol’ stay in Brazil?

” For the moment there is no news, but our sports management is negotiating with Inter: the negotiations are in one preliminary phase “

Flamengo President Rodolfo Landim on negotiations for Gabriel Barbosa.

Flamengo provides Barbosa with a reliable option. However, at 23, he may feel the ship to Europe will sail within the next few years. Alternatively, he could stay at Inter. Lukaku and Martínez have been heading up Conte’s 3-5-2 system very effectively. But with interest slowly growing in the Argentine, the Nerazzurri may have to start thinking about contingency plans. With the form ‘Gabigol’ is in, he could replace Martínez.

Where do you think Barbosa will end up? Let us know on Twitter @TasteOfFtbl

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