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Matheus Nascimento: Botafogo's young forward latest Brazilian to be linked with Nottingham Forest

Matheus Nascimento

Once again, Nottingham Forest are being assertive in the Brazilian market and have turned their attention to Botafogo’s Matheus Nascimento.

The 19-year-old forward was previously linked with Real Madrid in the previous summer transfer window; an indication that his ceiling is potentially very high.

Nascimento's key attributes

Despite his label as a forward, one of Nascimento’s best qualities is bringing players into the game around him or feeding the ball into attacking areas. He isn’t afraid to drop off in order to receive the ball, and often favours clever back heels in tight areas, looking to deceive opposing defenders and play in his teammates through on goal.

The young striker has great confidence and belief in his play, wanting to take on opposition, drive at them through the middle of the pitch, as well as carrying the ball into the box from wide areas. His dribbling and ability to keep the ball close to his feet when travelling at speed are eye catching qualities he possesses.

The Brazilian’s decision making is also high on his list of attributes. He doesn’t hesitate in the box, knowing when to be ruthless and go for goal or play a quick pass to a teammate in a better position.

Whether he’s playing with his back to goal or approaching the box, his decision making and timing when to play in his teammates shows great maturity to read the game and understand what is best for his team - an attribute many senior players struggle with throughout their careers. He’s not only quick and confident, but also rather unselfish - something Forest would have thoroughly enjoyed when scouting him.

Highly rated with the national team

Nascimento recently featured in the U20 World Cup for Brazil, making three appearances off the bench. Not a lot was to be made of his cameos against Italy and Dominican Republic, but he did score in extra–time against Israel, before Brazi bowed out embarrassingly 3-2. His goal was well taken. With no time at all, Nascimento found just enough time to set himself and pull the trigger, guiding the ball into the back of the net. An instinctive, difficult finish in a high pressure situation, albeit at the U20 World Cup, was another reason his Wikipedia page can be brushed to one side.

Once again, we saw Nascimento react sharply in the opponents box - something he’s continuously shown over the past 18 months.

However, in true Brazilian fashion, Nascimento is much more than simply playing his teammates in on goal and waiting in and around the box.

The 19-year-old is a tremendous ball carrier, possesses the skill and ability to leave defenders in his wake with clever nutmegs, flicking the ball over the opposition as well as turning one way and then another on the ball to outwit those attempting to close him down.

He has a wonderful touch in tight situations, which helps him get out of tight spots and allows him to therefore travel with the ball or switch the play and burst up the pitch to continue with the attack.

Will he fit into Cooper's system?

The way in which Nottingham Forest and Steve Cooper operate will suit Nascimento down to the ground. Cooper wants either the attacking midfielder or striker to hold up the ball, and bring the wingers into the game, to either help relieve pressure or create counter attacks.

This is a huge part of Nascimento’s game, and if he can start to work on his physique, he’ll have all the right attributes to become a successful striker in Europe.

The young forward hasn’t been Botafogo’s main man this season. However, it’s worth pointing out the Brazilian club have exceeded expectations and currently sit 10 points clear in Serie A - and while Nascimento has had minor injuries here and there, the U20 World Cup meant he missed out on several games, too.

He’s made cameo appearances from the bench in recent weeks before another injury has kept him sidelined, but Botafogo’s main striker, Tiquinho Soares, has been in exceptional form. Scoring 10 goals out of 24 for the club, he’s Serie A’s current top goalscorer and the 32-year-old is currently eyeing up a national team call-up.

With minutes currently limited, Nascimento will have one eye on Europe after Forest’s bid and the proposition of playing in the Premier League would be hard to turn down. Whether he would come straight into the fold is yet to remain unseen, but once again Forest have not waited around with another possible Brazilian gem.


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