With plenty of activity expected in the January transfer window, Ben Mattinson reveals his three favourite South America over the next month.
First up is a no brainer selection: Fluminense's André. The combative technical midfielder was arguably the most important player of Fernando Diniz’s Copa Libertadores side and has since been linked with many European clubs.
A lot of rumours have gone quiet of late but the most concrete links left are Fulham and it’s a move I love. Going to a big club - Liverpool, for example - to play as a lone 6 isn’t the best move for him right now as he’s best suited to either a double pivot (Fulham play this) or as an 8.
Both of these positions provide André with the freedom to carry the ball up field with less risk as well as being able to affect the game in the attacking third.
This would be a similar role Bruno Guimarães operates at Newcastle but André offers more defensive ability and composure. The Brazilian's move to Fulham is probably only likely to happen if João Palhinha moves on and with Bayern, Liverpool and Arsenal linked to the Portuguese defensive midfielder, this could very much be possible.
If André does move he’s a player with high sell on value for a potential big profit in the future for Fulham.
Club preference: Fulham
At the West London club, André would form a very complementary partnership with Alex Iwobi in a double pivot to replace Palhinha’s ball-winning ability whilst adding some needed mobility and on the ball ability.
André’s passing will allow Fulham to retain possession better and a move to a team of this level would give him time to adapt with less pressure before a big move in the future.
Fluminense: John Kennedy
We'll stay with Fluminense to analyse the Libertadores goalscoring hero John Kennedy.
The attacker’s profile is probably best as an inside forward or a second striker in a two formation. An attacker with real bravery and a top mentality, Kennedy is a superstar in the making.
The Brazilian is very hard-working as he does everything with such conviction and power. The way he dribbles, how strong in duels he is, his ball-striking ability is nothing but eye-catching.
Kennedy has goals on his mind. This is the type of player you want to have as one of your primary shooters in the front line, who's also an aerial threat due to his great leap.
Give Kennedy plenty of service and he’ll bag lots of goals due to his finishing prowess with both feet. There haven’t been a lot of teams linked with the Brazilian this window, but his ability is clear to see so he’s one to be on the lookout for.
Club preference: Bologna
Thiago Motta’s Bologna have been a very impressive side this season and particularly defensively they’ve been very solid guiding them into a promosing position in Serie A.
However, compared to the teams around them they’ve not scored as many goals (21) and are only the joint 10th top scorers in Serie A. John Kennedy would certainly be an additional goal threat and could possibly link up well with #9 Joshua Zirkzee. Kennedy could play either wing for Bologna, behind Zirkzee or as rotation for the Dutchman.
Boca Juniors: Ezequiel Fernández
Last but not least is Boca Junior’s centre midfielder Ezequiel Fernández. The Argentine is everything you want in a modern day all-action no.8 - an excellent ball-winning midfielder with great athleticism and physicality.
Fernández is press proven as his agility and dribbling ability enables him to calmly turn past any approaching defenders.
Despite being left footed, Fernández doesn’t have any angle bias due to the fact he’s confident with both feet, where he's capable of playing great long passes or passes through the lines.
Due to his on the ball prowess, ball-carrying ability and box-to-box tendencies I see his highest ceiling as a no.8.
Fernández could certainly be on the move soon and similarly to André I’d love to see him used in a double pivot. The main teams who’ve been linked to the young midfielder have been Liverpool and AC Milan but both clubs have plenty in those positions and he'd potentially struggle for game time.
Club preference: Atlético Madrid
As an all-action no.8 combining technical ability with tenacity in tackles, Fernández screams a perfect fit for Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.
It's worth noting the Spanish club has an ageing midfield with Koke (31), Rodrigo De Paul (29), Saúl Ñíguez (29) and Marcos Llorente (28). It’s only Pablo Barrios (20) who they have for the future in their midfield. A chance to build and learn from Simeone would be more than ideal.