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Matheus Franca: Arsenal look to bolster their attack with Flamengo’s young Brazilian

Matheus Franca Flamengo

Arsenal had a £15m bid rejected for Flamengo’s Matheus Franca - but who is the young Brazilian which the North London club are looking to bring to the Emirates?

With Champions League football secured, and a hectic summer transfer period anticipated with plenty of ins and outs, Arsenal have already started their process, turning to the South American market.

Matheus Franca has been linked with Premier League clubs since he first came onto the scene at just 17 years of age in 2021.

However, now more than ever looks the right team to take the leap and leave the club he’s been at since the age of 12.

Flamengo are on their third manager since lifting the Libertadores back in November. During this time, Franca has struggled for consistent game time due to the lack of structure in place at the club.

Not only has Franca struggled for consistent minutes, but the reigning Libertadores champions appear to be struggling with lack any kind of cohesion on and off the pitch. Currently eighth in the Brasileiro after eight games, Flamengo are also making hard work of an easy Libertadores group too, further proof the club is in a difficult period.

Fans aren’t happy with the board at present either, who appear to be showing no structure to to their managerial appointments and there's a lack of transparency between themselves and the supporters.

Perhaps for Franca to continue his growth and fulfil his potential, a move away from the current negative environment his finds himself in is a top priority.

Franca's qualities catch the eye

On the pitch, the 19-year-old can operate on the right flank or through the middle behind the striker, and is known for his instinctive ability to bypass opposing defenders with a drop of the shoulder or by using his quick feet.

Franca's skillset has seen him progress through the ranks at Flamengo, able to waltz through opposing defences at ease. He is also capable of switching the play once he’s beaten his man, helping to keep the momentum flowing when counter attacking.

His YouTube complications will please Arsenal fans due to his trickery associated with all Brazilian young stars, but it’s other qualities which don’t make the cut show exactly what kind of player he is.

Not only is the attacker full of pace and direct, but a quality he possesses which often goes missing is his ability to win the ball back high up the pitch.

As well as this, his desire to track back and tackle in a clever way in which he keeps the ball is an underrated part of his game.

Five goals in 20 Serie A appearances in 2022 isn’t too be sniffed at, and while he’s only managed three in 2023 to date, it’s an area of his game likely to improve under the right management.

His standout goal was in Flamengo’s 2-1 defeat to Aucas, where he took matters into his own hands, beating two men before stabbing the ball home. The Brazilian is capable of producing magic moments on his own, something Arsenal have required from their players when fighting for the Premier League title against rigid defences.

Arsenal: A perfect match?

Franca knows his next move will be vital for his development, which must be a club which can help nurture his talent and have a stable management team in charge which will work with him in order to take him to the next level.

On paper, Arsenal and Arteta appear to be the perfect fit for Franca to achieve exactly that. Arteta is building a squad which allows his young attacking players to thrive in an enjoyable environment that they want to be in..

Former Arsenal player and current Sporting Director, Edu, is heavily involved in potential transfers and clearly feels investing in Franca is worth their time.

Franca is far from the finished article, but there’s no doubt Arteta will enjoy working with a player which possesses such raw ability, allowing the Spaniard to mould him in order to fit him into his system, as we have seen with fellow Brazilian Martinelli under his leadership.

Having continuously shown glimpses of Franca's talent, it’s evident he will succeed at a club which can bring out those qualities further and improve his overall confidence - and Arsenal may just be that club.


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