Neymar, Coutinho, Kannemann: Tim Vickery's South American transfer special

  /  autty

With transfer windows across Europe now open, and many of the continent's biggest clubs having cash to burn, some of South America's top talent could be on the move.

Whether it is global superstars like Neymar, or little-known youngsters such as Santiago Sosa, South American football expert Tim Vickery provides the lowdown on the players and where they could be playing next season.


Age: 27

Club: PSG

Position: Forward

This season: Ligue 1 (17 apps, 15 goals)

International: Brazil (96 caps, 60 goals)

Linked with: Barcelona, Real Madrid

Vickery's Verdict: "This may not be the most popular opinion, but I feel a little bit sorry for him. There was a certain nobility in his move to Paris Saint-Germain; the desire to be the leader of the pack. I don't think it was mainly motivated by money, although he loved playing for Barcelona.

"It was all about the Champions League, in order to win the Ballon d'Or. That's the measure of success in Brazil, and his career will be considered a disappointment if he doesn't win that.

"Because of injuries, which is not really his fault, he's only played one knockout game for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. So you can understand a sense of frustration and why he wants to get back to a more competitive league.

"When you cost that amount of money, you don't have many options; two clubs in Spain or perhaps the Premier League. I can't imagine him wanting to come to the Premier League. Chelsea had a seat for him on a plane many years ago and he decided against it.

"You wouldn't really see him as a natural fit for the Premier League. He would have to confront the thing about diving on a weekly basis, and I'm not sure how well he'd react to that. So really he doesn't have a lot of options.

"The Real Madrid one is much more interesting because it's somewhere that he hasn't been. He wouldn't be in the shadow of [Lionel] Messi, so he could perhaps try to put himself up as the leader of the post-Cristiano Ronaldo team.

"That would tick all the boxes for us as spectators; whether that can be done from the point of view of financial engineering, we'll have to wait and see."

Philippe Coutinho

Age: 26

Club: Barcelona

Position: Midfielder

This season: La Liga (34 apps, 5 goals)

International: Brazil (47 caps, 13 goals)

Linked with: PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United

Vickery's Verdict: "It hasn't worked and I'm not sure how it can work. I'm also convinced that he couldn't say no. How can you say no when Barcelona come knocking? As a Brazilian, you could never say no, but there are clearly two problems.

"One is that they signed him as an [Andres] Iniesta replacement, and he's not. Nobody's an Iniesta replacement, but certainly not Coutinho. He's not a genuine midfielder; he does his best work in the final 30 metres of the field. He was signed for a role that he's not fit for.

"Also with [Luis] Suarez losing a little bit of pace, that's why [Ousmane] Dembele is ahead in the pecking order. You can't see him fitting into the midfield three and you can't see him fitting into the front three - and his relationship with the supporters seems to have broken down.

"The problem is Barcelona spent so much money on him; how much of a loss are they prepared to take to offload him?

"The most logical place for him to come, surely, would be the Premier League. He did very well at Liverpool, and remember that relationship he had with [Mauricio] Pochettino at Espanyol. Is there a little light flashing there?"

James Rodriguez

Age: 27

Club: Real Madrid (on loan at Bayern Munich)

Position: Midfielder

This season: Bundesliga (20 apps, 7 goals)

International: Colombia (70 caps, 21 goals)

Linked with: Bayern Munich, PSG

Vickery's Verdict: "During that World Cup [in 2014], wiser voices than myself said he's not quite quick enough to be the big star in European club football. I think they were right.

"At Bayern he's developed other things; he's played a little bit deeper at times, and I still think there's a cracking player there who needs to be important somewhere.

"One of the things he loves when he plays for Colombia is that feeling of importance; he thrives on that feeling. Perhaps he hasn't had that enough, but there's a cracking player for someone to come and rescue. It will be a tragedy if we don't see the best of him in Europe.

"There have been whispers coming out of the Bayern Munich dressing room of Paris Saint-Germain. He's in that select group of players where you're so expensive that there aren't that many places he can go. The Premier League would be one, but Paris Saint-Germain is another possibility."

Maxi Gomez

Age: 22

Club: Celta Vigo

Position: Striker

This season: La Liga (35 apps, 13 goals)

International: Uruguay (11 caps, 1 goal)

Linked with: West Ham, Tottenham

Vickery's Verdict: "Yes, I think he will [leave]. Celta have already lined up a replacement from Uruguay. I think Celta know they can't hold onto this player, and I think he's tailor-made for the Premier League. He's a hugely important player for Uruguay; he's the long-term successor to Suarez.

"That bull-like frame that he has is ideal for the Premier League, and he's been linked a little bit with Tottenham. He's not going to be playing every game, but at his age, I don't think he needs to be. He would play enough games there to keep the momentum of his career going. Celta are clearly looking to cash in."

Cristhian Stuani

Age: 32

Club: Girona

Position: Forward

This season: La Liga (32 apps, 19 goals)

International: Uruguay (48 caps, 8 goals)

Linked with: Barcelona, Celtic

Vickery's Verdict: "He's certainly put himself in the shop window, and he'll be with Uruguay during the Copa America. He's probably now the first reserve to Suarez and [Edinson] Cavani.

"He's such an intelligent player. He started off as a striker, and in Spain he was converted into a wide midfielder. He's equally adept at playing both roles.

"He's maybe not for an English club at the age that he is now, but certainly a club in the Spanish first division could get rich pickings from him."

Walter Kannemann

Age: 28

Club: Gremio

Position: Defender

Last season: Brazilian Serie A (18 apps, 0 goals)

International: Argentina (5 caps, 0 goals)

Linked with: Arsenal

Vickery's Verdict: "You would never call him 'Walter the Softie'. He's a hard man from the Argentine school of 'if it moves, kick it; if it doesn't move, kick it until it does move'.

"He's won the Copa Libertadores twice. He misses the Copa America because he has a back injury. He's a left-footed centre-back. Coming to England, I think he'd probably be a red card walking. He's a player who is maybe more guts, drive, and determination than genuine quality.

"At his age, 28, it's not a road that I would go down. There's no sell-on value there, and by the time he's adapted, he's already pushing the 30 mark. It would be a very short-term move, and to bring someone straight in from South America…I think that ship has probably sailed."


Age: 21

Club: Fluminense

Position: Striker

Last season: Brazilian Serie A (19 apps, 10 goals)

International: Brazil (0 caps, 0 goals)

Linked with: Manchester United

Vickery's Verdict: "Pedro was in the Brazil squad last year, picked up a serious injury, and that's how Richarlison got in the squad - as a replacement for him.

"He's a tall striker. He suffered a serious injury - knee ligaments - and he's just coming back now after eight months out. Personally I like him back to goal, he's got some touches.

"He's not going to be quite top class because of a lack of pace. You can't really play him behind the defensive line. For the calibre of clubs he's being linked with - Manchester United and so on - I really wouldn't see him at that level."

Santiago Sosa

Age: 20

Club: River Plate

Position: Midfielder

Last season: Argentinian Primera Division (0 apps, 0 goals)

International: Argentina (0 caps, 0 goals)

Linked with: Everton

Vickery's Verdict: "He's playing at the moment for Argentina in the U20 World Cup in Poland. Sosa is a holding midfielder, better at picking a pass than the defensive side of his game.

"He's got a little bit of old-fashioned swagger. In the old days in Argentina, that No 5 was the boss of the team, the man who played the vital first pass out of defence.

"But the thing with him is it's so early. He's only played a handful of games for River Plate, when they've fielded an under-strength side, so if Everton buy him now, to go straight into the first team would be a massive step up.

"He's one for the long term and looks promising. He would worry me a little bit with his lack of pace for the defensive side of his duties, but he's certainly an interesting player with the ball at his feet."

Gustavo Cuellar

Age: 26

Club: Flamengo

Position: Midfielder

Last season: Brazilian Serie A (28 apps, 0 goals)

International: Colombia (4 caps, 0 goals)

Linked with: West Ham

Vickery's Verdict: "He's become a cult idol at Flamengo. He came as the second midfielder, but he's been converted into the holding midfielder. He's got terrific lung power, gets around the pitch very well, wins his tackles, and he's good with the ball at his feet.

"West Ham have a very interesting young player already filling that position [Declan Rice], so he'd be a squad player; perhaps a replacement for Carlos Sanchez."

Guillermo Maripan

Age: 25

Club: Alaves

Position: Defender

This season: La Liga (23 apps, 2 goals)

International: Chile (13 caps, 2 goals)

Linked with: West Ham

Vickery's Verdict: "He's another player to look out for in the Copa America because I think he'll be in the first team for Chile. He's brought much-needed height to their backline.

"He reminds me a little bit - I remember watching him plenty for Universidad Catolica in Chile - of the Honey Monster, with those big shoulders.

"He's perhaps not the quickest, but [Manuel] Pellegrini has got pretty good service out of [Fabian] Balbuena, the Paraguayan centre-back. Maybe Maripan is hewn from the same oak; a similar type of player."

Related: Grêmio Brazil West Ham United Paris Saint-Germain Juventus Vissel Kobe Barcelona Iniesta Ronaldo Coutinho Neymar Kannemann Rice
Latest comments
Download All Football for more comments