The influx of homegrown Brazilian starlets shining on the European stage - Who are they and where to find them?

Published on 28 November 2023 at 13:00

The Campeonato Brasileiro has become a breeding ground for Europe's giants to poach from in recent seasons, producing a conveyor belt of young talent. The success of different generational homegrown stars of the Selecao like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar have influenced a pilgrimage across to the promise land for these Brazilian starlets. Clubs like Real Madrid have continued to scout for these hidden gems within the Brazilian Serie A, discovering the likes of Roberto Carlos, Marcelo, Casemiro and Vinicius Junior most recently. Here we take a look at the next line of Brazilians who are shining in Europe and where you can find them.


Premier League:

Deivid Washington De Souza - Chelsea

Only 88 days after extending his first professional contract at Santos , De Souza, joined Mauricio Pochettino's Chelsea for £17.2m this summer. The 18 year old made his senior debut for the Peixe on April 11 2023 in the Copa do Brazil against Botafogo, and went on to make nine appearances scoring one goal before his blockbuster transfer. The attacker was the second Santos academy graduate to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer after the arrival of Angelo. However, unlike his teammate who subsequently went out on loan to affiliate club Strasbourg De Souza has been retained in the Chelsea squad by his new manager and made his first team debut on October 28 in the 2-0 loss to Brentford. 

Andrey Santos - Chelsea (On loan Nottingham Forest)

The 19 year old has endured a turbulent start at Chelsea since his £13m January arrival last season from Vasco De Gama. He was the golden boy during the Under-20 South American Championships earlier this year, captaining Brazil to the title undefeated ,where he finished joint top goal scorer of the tournament. As a result, interim Brazil manager Ramon Menezes gave the starlet his first senior call-up in March, starting in the friendly defeat to Morocco. This influential performance was decisive in the midfielder gaining a work permit, as initially his application was denied because the Brazilian second tier was deemed not strong enough. This meant Santos, who is the youngest ever goal scorer for Vasco De Gama, was shipped out on loan to Palmerias for the second half of last season. Nevertheless, his work permit was resolved this summer and he is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, but has yet to be implemented into Steve Cooper's plans. 

Matheus Franca - Crystal Palace

One of the most illogical transfer stories from this summer, was Crystal Palace signing 19 year old Brazilian wonderkid Franca for a reported £25m including add-ons. Pairing a flamboyant Brazilian trickster with 76 year old Roy Hodgson appeared a profound mistake and it was difficult to see how the Flamengo star would acclimatise to South London. The attacker made 59 appearances for Flamengo since his debut on December 6 2021, where he became the beloved son of Rio de Janeiro. The number 11 has only made two cameo appearances for the Palace so far this season as he makes his return from a prolonged back injury, where fans are hoping he can inject some energy and skill into their team.

Murillo - Nottingham Forest

The £13m signing of Murillo from Corinthians this summer went under the radar amongst Forest's 13 new arrivals at the City Ground. The centre-back has been impressive in the Premier League, making seven starts. His pace and sharpness have freshened up an ageing back-line for Nottingham Forest and his confidence on the ball has been influential in Steve Cooper's sides ability to counter quickly. The 21 year old only extended his contract at Corinthians until 2025 in February after breaking into the first-team under Vanderleri Luxemburgo. His performances are attracting interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City, so don't expect to see him in the East Midlands for too long.


Serie A

Ederson - Atalanta

The 24 year old is a primary target for Barcelona in January, after Gavi suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but notorious difficult negotiators Atalanta will demand a high fee in a bid to keep their star player. The Brazilian made a breakthrough at Cruzeiro who were relegated to Serie B for the first time in the club's history in 2019 after a disastrous campaign. He subsequently joined Corinthians on a free transfer before Salernitana poached him for £5.8m in January 2022. Just seven months later Atalanta agreed a £20m deal to sign the defensive midfielder where he has developed into a key player for the Bergamo outfit. 

Natan - Napoli

The Brazilian was signed as the successor to last season's Serie A champion Kim-Min Jae, who departed Napoli for Bayern Munich this summer. The 22 year old developed through at Flamengo, before joining Red Bull Bragantino in January 2022 where he made 53 appearances last season and helped the club qualify for the Copa Libertadores. He joined Napoli in August for a reported £10m, but his new manager Rudi Garcia had been hesitant in integrating him straight into the starting line-up. However, his impressive performances in the Champions League prompted him to receive a growing inclusion in the league where he is starting to show just how good he is.

La Liga

Victor Roque - Barcelona

The Brazilian wonderkid joined Barcelona for £40m this summer from Atletico Paranaese on a six year contract that included a £500m buy-out clause. The 18 year old will not join the Blaugara until July 2024 remaining in Brazil for another season, where he currently has 11 goals in 23 Serie A games this season. He already became a national superstar in Brazil, becoming a record transfer fee for Paranaese when he joined from Flamengo for $24m in April 2022. His impressive performances gifted him his first ever senior international call-up in March 2023 where he was substituted on for his debut in a friendly against Morocco. 

Endrick - Real Madrid

Similarly, Real Madrid signed Brazilian phenomenon Endrick for £52m last January, but the 17 year old will not join the Los Blancos until July 2024 when he turns 18. In Palmerias' youth academy he scored 165 goals in 169 games and later made his senior professional debut at the age of just 16 in a league win over Coritiba. After lifting the Campeonato Brasileiro title last season, he has made 28 appearances this campaign where he has scored nine goals. The trickster became the youngest ever player to receive a senior Brazil call-up since Ronaldo in 1994 during this month's international fixtures. Watch out for Endrick he is considered Brazil's most promising prospects, who is believed to emulate the heights of Neymar!



Igor Paixao - Feyenoord

The 23 year old has lifted Feyenoord's first Eredivisie title in five years and is featuring in the club's first Champions League campaign since 2017-18. The reigning Dutch champions signed Paixao for just £4m from Coritiba last summer, where he made 12 goal contributions in 15 league starts. His breakthrough came under Coritiba manager Gustavo Morinigo in 2021 and he stayed with the club when they got promoted to Serie A making 18 league appearances in the top flight. Arsenal and host of other top European clubs are all showing interest in the winger, who is currently enjoying his football under Arne Slot in the Netherlands.

Written by - Lewis Eadie

Instagram - @the_beautgame1

Twitter - @The_Beautgame1

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