Barcelona ‘open negotiations to sign wonderkid Vitor Roque – dubbed ‘the new Luis Suarez’ – from Athletico Paranaense’ with the Catalan giants ‘keen for the 17-year-old to learn from talisman Robert Lewandoswki’
- Vitor Roque is the top scorer at the South American Under-20 Championship
- He only joined Athletico Paranaense in April 2022 and already has seven goals
- Ronaldinho’s son, Joao Mendes, has joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy
Barcelona have reportedly begun negotiations with Brazilian outfit Athletico Paranaense for 17-year-old wonderkid Vitor Roque.
The Catalan giants have contacted Athletico Paranaense technical director Luiz Felipe Scolari and CEO Alexandre Mattos to begin talks over bringing Roque to the Nou Camp, according to Spanish outlet Fichajes.
Roque has already been compared to legendary former Blaugrana striker Luis Suarez for his killer instincts in the penalty area despite his young age.
The youngster does not turn 18 until February 28, but Barca are confident that they can strike up a deal that will bring him to the club in the summer.
He already has seven goals and three assists for the Furacao from 36 appearances, having joined in April 2022 shortly after turning 17.
Barcelona have reportedly opened negotiations to sign Vitor Roque before the start of next season
The 17-year-old has been compared to Barca legend Luis Suarez who played for the club from 2014-20
The Catalan side are keen for the youngster to learn from talismanic star Robert Lewandowski
Barca have reportedly outlined Roque as a young star with tremendous talent that can blossom into a world-beating No 9 at the club.
And important to their plan for the youngster is current talisman Robert Lewandowski, who has been one of the world’s greatest No 9s in recent years.
Under the Poland international, the 17-year-old would have the opportunity to learn his craft from not only an extremely potent finisher, but a player that has brought leadership and professionalism to Barca since his summer arrival.
But the teenager is not thought to come cheap, with Furacao president Mario Celso Petraglia reportedly one of the toughest negotiators when it comes to parting with the club’s young talent.
Athletico Paranaense paid around £4million for Roque less than 12 months ago, and will likely want to receive a big profit on their investment to allow the 17-year-old to move to Europe.
Which would present an issue for Barca, who have been warned by LaLiga chief Javier Tebas that there will be no big-money transfers for the cash-strapped Catalan giants this summer.
However, the Brazilian club are thought to be prepared to allow Barca to pay the reported £31-35m fee in installments, as the LaLiga side bid to stay competitive while also reducing costs.
Roque is currently hunting down Neymar’s nine-goal tally at the South American Under-20 Championships
Selecao icon Neymar currently has the national record for goals scored in the U-20 tournament (nine)
And Barca will surely not anticipate too many delays in the negotiations, given that the player’s agent is Alex Cury, Barca’s former representative in Brazil.
The Brazilian starlet is thought to have turned down the chance to follow compatriot Endrick to Real Madrid in order to join Barca ahead of the 2023-24 season, according to Forbes.
Roque is currently taking the South American Under-20 Championship by storm, leading the way with six goals in the race for the golden boot, and is also hunting down Neymar’s Brazilian nine-goal record in the competition.
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