Identifying and recruiting talent is a challenge for all clubs, which is why international competitions are so important. European big league clubs are less likely to send their players to the U-17 and U-20 World Cups because of the young age at which they make their professional debuts.
The situation is different for Asian, South American, and African teams that want to qualify for Europe. They see it as a lucrative business to play more games and stand out, if that leads to transfers.
At the U-20 World Cup in Argentina, a variety of players are being sought after. Clubs looking to develop goalscorers in particular have already started to salivate over certain players. One such player is Marcos Leonardo (20, Santos), a 2003-born striker from ‘samba soccer’ Brazil.
Leonardo made his debut for the Santos senior team in 2020. He has shown his goal-scoring prowess in the state and national Serie A leagues. In addition to league and cup competitions, he has experience in the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League, and the Copa Sudamericana, the Europa League. He’s played 140 games for the first team alone.토토사이트
Not surprisingly, he’s playing the World Cup with Brazil’s U-20 team and helped them escape the deadly Group D. In the first group game against Italy, he scored two goals to come back from 0-3. It ended in a 2-3 loss, but his ability to get into space and his finishing was outstanding. In the second game against the Dominican Republic, he also scored in a 6-0 win.
In the third game against Nigeria, he played until the 43rd minute and used his movement to score in a 2-0 win, and in the round of 16 against Tunisia, he scored a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win that sent them through to the quarterfinals. Immediately, he made a name for himself in the goalscoring category, finishing second to Chelsea’s Cesare Cassaday (five), who was loaned out to Reading after signing last summer.
The Daily Mail reported on January 1 that “West Ham United already made an offer for the player in January, but Santos rejected it. They are preparing to make another offer, but Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle United, and Chelsea are also interested,” indicating that a significant bidding war is expected.
Leonardo, a 6-foot-2 right-footed central defender, has the strength and physique to withstand defensive pressure. Santos has a contract until December 2026, but based on what European teams have seen, a move is likely to happen at least within a year.
His release clause is estimated at €15 million, but Brazilian clubs usually lock in a huge buyout clause. Multiple outlets estimate that Santos has set a buyout of at least €50 million ($707 million).
With most of the top scouts in the big leagues watching Brazil closely, and a better showing in the quarterfinals, that number could be even higher for Santos.
Despite playing for a team that produced Pele, Santos is a Leonardo whose idol is Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr), not homegrown ace Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain). It will be interesting to see what color jersey he will wear in the major European leagues in the future.