The latest player to be linked with a summer move to the Estádio da Luz is Flamengo striker Felipe Vizeu. Jordan Russell, Editor of The Fantasista, reveals all about the Brazilian youth international.
Felipe Vizeu started his youth career at América-MG, before joining Rio de Janeiro giants Flamengo in 2013. With six goals for Brazil's under-20 side to his name, the youngster is considered one of his homeland's brightest attacking talents. He made his debut for the Rubro-Negro on February 10th 2016, in a 5-0 win against Portuguesa RJ in the Rio State League. Just a few days later, he scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over Cabofriense in the same competition.
In March 2016, Vizeu was promoted to the first team squad after Kayke was sold to Yokohama F. Marinos, which left Paolo Guerrero as the club's only recognised senior striker. Vizeu played his first Brasileirão match and scored his first goal in a 2-2 draw against Chapecoense on May 25th 2016. Since then, he has been unable to secure a regular starting berth due to coach Zé Ricardo's preference for using a lone striker, and typically Guerrero gets the nod. However, there is little doubt that he has the talent to succeed at the top level, and it is no exaggeration to suggest that he would be a starter for most top-flight clubs in Brazil.
Vizeu is a powerful modern day centre-forward, which means he could feasibly lead the line on his own or play alongside a partner, which is the most likely scenario should he join Benfica. Despite being left-footed, he is able to score and dribble comfortably with both feet. His physical presence allows him to hold the ball up and bring his teammates into play to good effect, while he also carries a significant threat from set pieces.
In truth, fellow Flamengo starlet Vinícius Júnior has stolen much of the spotlight from Vizeu in recent times, as Barcelona and Manchester United are reportedly fighting it out for first option on the 16-year-old. As for Vizeu, he is very similar to Chelsea's Diego Costa. Both are well-equipped physically and technically, and have the capacity to play as a lone striker. He also shares Costa's ruthless streak in front of goal. Given that Vizeu is only 20, he has time to bulk up even more and to become a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.
Vizeu is technically gifted and physically strong, with the potential to become a world class number nine. He is an instinctive finisher, and displays excellent off-the-ball movement. The Brazilian is very athletic, which would allow him to lead the line on his own if required. He has a decent first touch, enabling him to link up play with his teammates. He also has an impressive temperament; at Flamengo, the best-supported club in Brazil, there is always pressure to deliver, but the 20-year old has yet to buckle under the weight of expectation.
Experience, given the lack of first team opportunities he has been afforded thus far in his career.
As well as Benfica, a whole host of prestigious European clubs are monitoring Vizeu's situation at Flamengo. Italian trio Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio are all interested, while German giants Borussia Dortmund could decide to add yet another talented youngster to their squad.
According to O Jogo, Benfica have been assured that Vizeu would cost no more than €8 million, despite the fact that his contract does not expire until 2020. Luís Filipe Vieira will almost certainly try to reduce that asking price, possibly by offering a player on loan in part-exchange. The Sun's recent claim that Vizeu would cost more than £25 million is well wide of the mark. Firstly, the player has not yet done enough to command such a hefty fee, and secondly, Flamengo are unlikely to take such a hardline approach to negotiations. Monaco recently signed their left-back, Jorge, for around €8.5 million, and a similar fee should be sufficient to land Vizeu.
How he would fit in at Benfica
One of the main reasons for Vizeu’s lack of playing time has been Zé Ricardo's reluctance to shift from his customary 4-2-3-1 formation. Rui Vitória's preferred 4-4-2 setup could provide Vizeu with more opportunities to impress, and he would clearly benefit from playing alongside more experienced players that have scored goals in Europe for many seasons. Jonas is now 33 years of age, while Kostas Mitroglou and Raúl Jiménez continue to be linked with moves away from the Estádio da Luz. An overhaul of the attacking department might therefore be necessary this summer, and Vizeu could prove to be an ideal reinforcement, although it would be unfair to expect too much from him too soon.
Likelihood of a move to Benfica
6/10. Despite the interest of financially superior clubs, the Eagles know how to operate in the South American market better than most, which could give them the edge over their rivals. Vizeu’s representatives must have noticed the success with which Benfica have developed young players in the past few years, and the proposed transfer fee should also fall within Benfica's budget.
Full name: Felipe dos Reis Pereira Vizeu do Carmo
DOB: March 12th 1997 (Age 20)
Club: CR Flamengo
Height: 1.84 m
Preferred foot: Left