Summer Transfer Updates
As the European season returns to action, more eyes are on the summer transfer window than ever before. Right here, you'll find links, opinions and player verdicts on South Americans looking to secure a move before the window slams shut.
Sunday 13th August
Dimitri Payet's shock Serie A move
Former West Ham and Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet has surprised plenty, securing a move to Vasco De Gama. Currently 19th after 17 matches, Vasco are six points adrift of safety and are in a relegation scrap to maintain their Serie A status.
However, bringing in Payet could be the turning point for the club. The 36-year-old scored four goals and contributed three assists in Ligue 1 last campaign, having previously scored 12 goals in 31 appearances in 2021/22. Player Verdict: No one saw this move happening. Payet, although 36, still has plenty to offer and with plenty of teams flirting with relegation, the Frenchman could be the difference in keeping Vasco in Serie A.
It could be one of the signings of the year in Brazil - and I'm surprised Botafogo didn't look at bringing him in on a short term deal at the other end of the table.
Saturday 12th August
Diego Costa signs for league leaders
Former Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Wolves striker Diego Costa has returned to Brazil and signed for Botafogo on a free transfer. The 34-year-old made 24 Premier League appearances last season for Wolves, scoring just once in a 2-0 victory against Brentford.
With Tiquinho Soares out for 5-6 weeks with a hamstring injury, Botafogo have moved quickly in order to bring in another menacing striker. Player Verdict: Botafogo have had little choice but to bring in a forward, and with the window being closed, their options have been rather limited. Is Diego Costa the answer? Back in Serie A, he can still offer something - but Botafogo need to keep their momentum going and there's a lot of pressure on Costa to get up and running straight away.
Thursday 10th August
Botafogo pair heading to France
Botafogo's goalkeeper Lucas Perri and centre-back Adryelson will join Ligue 1's Lyon at the end of the Serie A campaign. John Textor, who owns both clubs, was keen to initiate the deal, where both players will have a substantial salary increase. Both players have been massively influential as Botafogo are continuing to runaway at the top of the Serie A table. Having conceded just 10 goals in 18 league matches to date, as well as in the Sudamericana semi-finals, both will be a huge loss to the Brazilian club.
Lucas Perri, who stands at 6ft 5, is a man mountain who has been on the verge of the Brazilian national team. With 16 clean sheets to his name in all competitions, Perri now has an opportunity to prove himself in Europe after failing to make a single appearance when on loan at Crystal Palace back in 2019.
Wednesday 9th August
Andre bid on hold from Liverpool
It's looking as though Liverpool won't be bidding for Fluminense's Andre, after the Brazilian club qualified for the quarter-finals of the Libertadores overnight. A 2-0 victory keeps Fluminense in with a shout of lifting their first title - and Andre is keen to stay put until that isn't a possibility. Catch up on my thoughts on the defensive midfielder below when I spoke with Red Men TV.
Tuesday 8th August
Bragantino's Natan moves to Napoli
Napoli have secured centre-back Natan from Bragantino for €10m. The former Flamengo player has been with the Red Bull owned club since 2021 and has been a regular ever since. The left sided centre-back possesses plenty of pace and agility, yet is more than physical enough to dominate from the back.
With a high percentage of duels won in Serie A (61%), Natan is strong but fair - only receiving one yellow card domestically. He's still developing his game, but is highly professional on the pitch and has played a huge role in Bragantino's success in Serie A and the Sudamericana this season. Away from his defensive duties, Natan enjoys playing long passes, spraying balls when he sees teammates further up the field in plenty of space. The Brazilian wants to win the ball back and carry the ball forward where possible, but he isn't afraid to go to ground when he knows he's going to stop attackers from progressing in dangerous areas.
Player Verdict: While there are other young centre-backs who are highly rated in Serie A, such as Sao Paulo's Lucas Beraldo, Napoli have taken a chance on the 22-year-old. However, Napoli's scouting system has proven to be successful in recent times - you only have to look at Kim Min-Jae who improved no end during his time in Italy. Left sided centre-backs are a rare breed and Natan has been part of a Bragantino defence which has only shipped in 16 goals in 18 Serie A matches. A promising young talent, but he has big boots to fill.
Monday 7th August Alejo Veliz set to complete Spurs medical
Tottenham have signed Rosario's Alejo Veliz for around €15m. The young Argentine shined domestically, scoring 11 goals in 23 Primera appearances.
A mid-season break from domestic duties saw Veliz perform exceptionally well in the U20 World Cup, scoring three goals in four matches.
So what kind of striker have Spurs signed? Veliz is a strong, confident striker who has proven over the last two years he is capable of stepping up and performing in Europe. He possesses great strength to either hold the ball up or shrug off opposing defenders. The physicality of the Premier League shouldn't be an issue. The young Argentine has no issues carrying the ball forward down either channel too, using his strength and long stride to breeze past opposition. In front of goal, he's proven to be prolific. Whether he's timing his runs to perfection inside the box, curling home an effort from the edge of the 18-yard box or using his height to head home, Veliz has an all-round attacking game most manager's crave from their striker.
Player Verdict: Given time, Veliz has the potential to shine in Europe. An initial settling in period will be required, but it'll soon be obvious as to why Spurs have moved quickly to snap him up. This is a really exciting move for him.
Botafogo's Lucas Perri linked with Lyon
Botafogo's outstanding goalkeeper Lucas Perri has been linked with an €8m move to Lyon. The good news for the Serie A leaders is the deal wouldn't allow the Brazilian to leave until January. With Botafogo 13 points clear at the top of Serie A and still in the Sudamericana, it is vital they hang on to their best players - and Perri is certainly one of those.
Having only conceded 10 goals in 18 league matches, Perri has kept 11 Serie A clean sheets this year - only conceding two goals at home all season.
Standing at 6ft 5, the giant goalkeeper is cool, calm and collected between the sticks. Not only is he commanding, but the 25-year-old is brave in one on one situations and he's proven to be one of, if not, the best goalkeepers in Serie A this season. Perri was previously loaned to Crystal Palace in 2019 from Sao Paulo yet never made an appearance for the Premier League club.
Player Verdict: Lucas Perri is arguably Botafogo's most important player bar Tiquinho Soares. His nature calms the defence in front of him and his presence puts opposing players off. Hopefully his time with Crystal Palace hasn't put him off a move back to Europe, who could find himself in the Brazilian national team if he continues his fine season with Botafogo.
Sunday 6th August
Lucas Beltran edges closer to Fiorentina over Benfica
River Plate's Lucas Beltran has agreed personal terms with Fiorentina, according to Violanews Fiorentina. Benfica are also interested in the Argentine striker, who has excelled in 2023 under Martin Demichelis.
Opinion: Having scored 12 goals in 25 Primera appearances, Beltran played a pivotal role as River comfortably secured the title by 11 points. With four goals in seven Libertadores appearances, it'll be a huge blow for the club if they are to lose their talisman this window.
River Plate are currently 2-1 up after the first leg against Internacional in the Libertadores, and head to Brazil this coming week for a spot in this year's quarter-finals. Beltran will likely lead the line for Demichelis' side. The 22-year-old has silenced his critics this season, proving he's more than merely a penalty specialist. The striker's clever movement and finishing has improved considerably, which is why top European clubs have been monitoring his situation.
Whether he's timing his runs to perfection on the last defender's shoulder, or stopping his run to create space in the box, Beltran has been one of South America's deadliest strikers this year.
Player Verdict: Lucas Beltran has the opportunity to create history with River Plate or secure a dream move to Europe. Undoubtedly, he's the best striker to come out of the Argentina Primera this season, and Beltran will have his pick. Will a move to Fiorentina or Benfica suit? Time will tell. Either way, he'll be at one of Europe's best clubs within the next two seasons.
Santos' Deivid Washington's move to Chelsea
Chelsea are set to sign another young Brazilian from Santos, as forward Deivid Washington is on the cusp of joining the Cobham based club. The fee for the 18-year-old is rumoured to be around €15-20m.
Winger Angelo signed for Chelsea earlier in the window for €15m and it's yet to be confirmed whether or not he will be loaned out to Strasbourg - a club Chelsea have recently purchased.
Serie A Key Stats: Total matches: 9 Total goals: 2 Shots per game: 1.9 SOT per game: 0.8 Scoring frequency: 221 mins
Opinion: Deivid Washington has come through one of the more successful academies in Brazil. Having scored on his debut against Bahia on 10th May, Washington backed it up with the winning goal next time out in a crucial 1-0 win away to relegation rivals Vasco. Standing at a little over 6ft tall, Washington's frame and size stands out. Having stood out in this year's Copinha, he was called up to provide competition to the increasingly popular Marcos Leonardo who has had his own admirers this window. However, since the arrival of head coach Paulo Turra, opportunities have been limited for the youngster. Although touted as one of the more exciting youngsters to come out of Brazil, he's yet to win me over. In Serie A, his ability in front of goal hasn't shone and his decision making needs to improve. His hold up play at times has left a lot to be desired and with Santos struggling domestically, it's a little concerning he hasn't been trusted to lead the line. Admittedly, Leonardo has performed exceptionally well, but Washington isn't in the same bracket as his fellow striker at present. Player Verdict: Chelsea have clearly been impressed with what they have seen, and a loan to Strasbourg is extremely likely to take place if they get the deal over the line. Will he succeed in France? Time will tell, but he has a lot to improve on to convince me he's the real deal. People have asked whether he's on a similar level to Vitor Roque or Endrick - and the answer is no.
Nottingham Forest: Matheus Cunha, Wilmar Barrios & Murillo
It's been a frustrating transfer window for Nottingham Forest and their fans, who have yet to land any of their South American targets. Flamengo's Matheus Cunha was apparently targeted, with the rumoured fee to be around €10m. With the Brazilian club still fighting for the Serie A title and looking to win back-to-back Copa Libertadores, the board are backing Jorge Sampaoli and want to keep his star assets outside of the Brazilian transfer window.
Player Verdict: One of the best goalkeepers in Serie A, it won't be long before Cunha is snapped up. However, with the Brazilian window slammed shut, Forest will need to look elsewhere to fill their goalkeeper void this season. He's definitely one to monitor and who'll play a vital role if Flamengo are to be successful this season. Next up, the East Midlands club bid €4m Zenit's Wilmar Barrios according to Fabrizio Romano. The Colombian defensive midfielder moved to Russia from Boca Juniors back in 2018 and has been a regular within the starting XI. With a vast amount of experience in the Champions League, Europa League, Copa America and World Cup qualifiers, there's no surprise to see Forest looking to pad out their midfield - especially with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Remo Freuler linked with moves away from the City Ground.
Player Verdict: Barrios is a highly intelligent defensive midfielder. Not only is he capable of working his way out of tight spots, his progressive on the ball with his passing. With the amount of experience under his belt, the 29-year-old has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League. However, a player of his ability and ability on the ball will not be moving for €4m.
Last but not least on the latest link with Forest is Corinthian's centre back Murillo. Rumoured to be priced around the €15m mark, the 21-year-old will be looking for a European move. Whether that's this window or not, the Brazilian will be on plenty of teams radars.
The left-footed centre back stands at 6ft tall and has the frame to match. His physicality is one of his best assets, allowing him to compete with the opposition both on the ground and in the air.
A tremendous reader of the game, Murillo likes to move the ball forward and often looks for his winger or central midfielder on his side of the pitch in order to pick up the momentum of the play.
Corinthians have struggled this season, yet Murillo has been consistent, helping to keep three clean sheets from his 12 Serie A matches - of which he's completed the full 90 minutes in all of them.
Player Verdict: Without doubt Murillo has a high ceiling. Having performed well in a below average Corinthians side, the youngster may be willing to move on in order to improve his career. His defensive stats speak for themselves in his first full season at senior level, and there's no doubt he's heading for a bright career in Europe.
Boca's Alan Varela move to Porto secured
Alan Varela has been on plenty of European radars for the past couple of seasons. However, his destination isn't the English Premier League, having secured his €10-15m move to Porto. It was announced this week the 22-year-old midfielder will depart Boca after the second leg against Nacional in the Copa Libertadores round of 16 this coming week. There was no clear rush from Varela's camp, who remains keen to say goodbye to La Bombonera in style.
Argentine Primera Key Passing Stats: Passing accuracy opp half: 85% Passing accuracy own half: 91%
Opinion: Porto have landed Boca's brightest midfielder. Standing at 5f10, the defensive midfielder regularly looks to dictate the play, offering his defenders options by dropping deep to collect the ball. From here, the Argentine can dictate the game with his extensive passing range. When receiving the ball higher up the pitch, his 360 degree vision allows him to create the space required in order to pick out the perfect pass. An aggressive midfielder, Varela works hard for his teammates out of possession, and although is vulnerable to a yellow card, (11 in 33 games in 2023), he's a hard hitting tackler - which will translate well to European football. Player Verdict: A superb reader of the game, Varela's footballing brain and intelligence will see him succeed at Porto. A season or two in front of more eyes will certainly put himself in the shop window for a major European side in the next season or two.