Introducing... Brazilian Wonderkid 'Gabigol', The New Neymar Destined For Arsenal, Man Utd or Barcelona


Point though it does to our stunningly short attention spans and insatiable thirst for footballing saviours to come around as often as iPhone updates, the fact there is already "a new Neymar' is of course an exciting one.

The actual Neymar will be the ripe old age of 23 next week and is already rich beyond his wildest dreams, bedded in with Barcelona and a World Cup veteran, so it's only right the focus of our white hot football fervour moves on.

His name is Gabriel Barbosa Almeida.

You and I shall call him Gabriel and the Santos starlet is already the darling of the transfer gossip columns. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona have been linked to the 18-year-old, with a reported £40 million buy-out clause in the ether and so much hype on the poor boy he's a decent career away from epic disappointment.

It's megastardom or bust for Gabriel from here, which is as you'd expect when you signal your prodigious talent at the club that gave the world Pele and now Neymar - not to mention countless other famous Brazilian exports between.

Santos v Cruzeiro- Brasileirao Series A : News Photo

Gabriel's scoring form thus far for Santos has certainly been convincing. He was their top scorer during the 2014 season and has been prolific through their youth ranks and also on the futsal pitch (Gabriel was first scouted as futsal prodigy, aged 8). It's with good reason his nickname is 'Gabigol'.

Currently representing Brazil at the South American Under-20 Championship in Uruguay, Gabriel was on target in the opening group stage against Venezuela and started their 0-0 draw against the hosts on Monday. If picked (and that's not a given), he'll be in action against Paraguay on Thursday.

All signs point toward Gabriel elevating to Dunga's Brazil senior side at some point in the very near future, which is an exciting prospect for fans of attacking football and flair - namely all Brazilians who like football, which translates as all Brazilians.

If you've missed Gabriel's rise or you'd like to learn more, here's a brief scouting report on a teenager who could soon be lining up for one of Europe's top clubs.

 

THE SHOWREEL

Like last week's subject Martin "next Messi" Odegaard, Gabriel is another from the long line of left-footed flair players, though in truth he's so strong on his right there's little to be gained by defenders steering him to his supposedly weaker side on purpose.

His first touch is velvet smooth, his balance breathtaking and he comes equipped with a big collection of tricks and flicks in his armoury.

In terms of build, Gabriel is bulkier than we found Neymar at a similar age but still a long way from being dubbed "the Brazilian Akinfenwa". That said, he's strong enough to shrug off a challenge and can play off the last defender if required.

 

THE COMPARISONS

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The Neymar comparisons are an obvious conclusion, but as scoutedfootball's Miran Saric smartly points out here there's another Barcelona player who bears more of a likeness and that man is Luis Suarez.

Like Suarez, Gabriel has the ability to cut and weave to both feet and comes with a wiry strength that belies his frame. He's also an instinctive finisher and highly effective playmaker behind a main forward.

Watch showreels of Gabriel's finishing and you'll be reminded of Neymar, but there are also hints of Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Carlos Tevez in the the explosions he can produce inside the box.

 

TACTICAL OVERVIEW

It won't hurt Gabriel's transfer value that he's capable of playing a number of advanced roles. Everything from trequartista to false nine is possible, with the Brazilian comfortable on both flanks and able to adapt as required.

What's noticeable in his showreels is just how adept a passer he is, and how well Gabriel can link play in the final third. He's a natural catalyst.

 

THE MAN

FBL-U20-SOUTHAM-BRA-VEN : News Photo

With good reason media access to Gabriel has been very closely guarded by Santos thus far, so little has got out to educate us on his personality. What we do know from his on-field persona is that he's a showman who loves to entertain and relishes the limelight.

Is that a good thing? It can't help his appeal off the pitch and expressive nature on it, but one journalist based in Brazil told me there may already be a worry he's already getting a little carried away with his own hype.

 

SHOULD WE BELIEVE THE HYPE?

Gabriel certainly wouldn't be the first Brazilian teenager to fail to live up to his billing as a teenager.

That said, the kind of evidence he's putting forward with Santos suggests there's a good chance we're looking at a future Brazil regular and potentially a name to put alongside Neymar in their lineup, and in terms of star power.

Real Madrid have already landed their baby Galatico Odegaard. Could Gabriel be Barcelona's answer?