Barcelona are reportedly interested in strengthening their midfield options further with the signing of Flamengo starlet Lucas Paqueta.
According to Joaquim Piera of Sport, the Blaugrana have been impressed with the 21-year-old's performances for Flamengo so far this year. The youngster earned a call-up to the Brazil senior squad recently, making his debut in the 2-0 friendly win against the United States on Saturday.
"He's taken huge steps forward in 2018 and his progression has not gone unnoticed in Europe," said Piera. "And Barca, once again, are one of the teams with an eye on him—although they won't be short of competition."
Piera noted that the midfielder has a contract with Flamengo until 2020, and his current terms include a release clause worth €50 million (£45 million).
It's added that Flamengo are looking to get him secured to a new contract that would see Paqueta take home a bigger salary, while his release clause would be increased to around €70 million (£63 million).
Brazilian football journalist Paulo Freitas showed how the story was covered by the Catalan publication:
Barcelona have spent big money on midfield options so far this year. In January they prised Philippe Coutinho away from Flat Black Rockport Gigi Women's Hill Cobb qwwTHZR, before Arturo Vidal and Arthur Melo were secured in the summer window; Andres Iniesta, Paulinho and Andre Gomes (on loan) all left the club before the start of the current campaign.
Paqueta would continue a restructuring of this area of the squad and give it even more samba flair, with Coutinho and Arthur already Selecao internationals.
As noted by Rafael Hernandez of Barca fansite Grup14, so far the latter of that Brazilian duo has caught the eye early in his Barcelona career:
The way Arthur has adapted to the Barcelona setup will only serve to encourage the pursuit of Paqueta, as there's little reason why he can't make similar steps forward.
Paqueta has been moved infield from his spot on the right flank recently and shone. From a central berth, he is in possession more frequently, meaning he can use his excellent left foot to funnel the ball wide or thread passes into the feet of forwards.
Like Arthur, his composure on the ball and smart decision-making stand out for a footballer who is still in the early stages of his career.DC Heathrow Men's Skate Green Dark Shoe Casual BrBSWaOq
Per Selecao Brasileira, supporters love to watch him:
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S Rose Mary 12 Women's US Metallic Jane Drew Copper The worry for Paqueta would be getting regular minutes at the Camp Nou. After all, in addition to the midfielders mentioned, Ivan Rakitic, Denis Suarez and Sergio Busquets are all fine players in their own right.
Still, the links to Barcelona are a testament to his talent, and if the Blaugrana don't move for the Brazil international, a giant of the European game surely will soon. Having already amassed some of the most exciting rising stars from Brazil, Barca won't want to miss out on another.