While the transfer window will not open for another 3 months, Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel are making a list of targets who would suit the style of the club and can be critical to the success of Chelsea, over the next decade. This was also the criteria last summer, as Chelsea went on to bring the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Ben Chilwell to the club, all of whom are under the age of 25. While this summer’s transfer targets list may not be as long as the last one, it will surely be a crucial one. An important name on this list is Gabriel Menino.
GABRIEL MENINO – A UNIQUE TALENT:
There are very few players currently in and around world football who can play several positions across the pitch and do as good a job as Gabriel Menino. The 2o-year-old is a Brazilian sensation who glides around the pitch and commands control of the ball in a way most footballers are not able to in today’s day and age. South Americans are very rarely associated with midfielders who have a Midas touch.
That is how good and unique Gabriel Menino is, courtesy of which, he is now being courted by Europe’s biggest clubs. Likened to Joshua Kimmich, the midfielder possesses a lot of similar qualities to the German architect, who is possibly Germany’s biggest talent since Thomas Mueller in 2009. This tells you how rare such players are and the importance of proper tutelage to them.
Gabriel Menino started his career as a central midfielder and wanted to shape the way he plays like Manchester City’s former engine in Yaya Touré. However, as he developed his game further and further, Menino transformed into a defensive midfielder and today, the 20-year-old is playing as a right-back and has designed a unique skillset of finesse passing, game awareness, crossing only to find a player and the ability to take set pieces.
To emphasize more on Menino’s versatility, the Palmeiras starlet has played for the club as a left-winger, a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder on either side (mainly on the right), as a right-back and as a right-winger and he has done so all at the age of 20. The art of crossing the ball was mastered by Dani Alves in his time at Barcelona, somebody who Gabriel Menino looks up to today. There is a difference between crossing the ball to find your team-mate and crossing into a dangerous area. While most players around Europe focus on the latter, Menino’s school of thought focuses on the former.
The 20-year-old averages 2 successful crosses per game which means that there is a sense of accuracy into the youngster’s style of crossing a ball which is an incredible quality to have.
Menino currently averages an 86% pass completion rate while he also completes almost 4 dribbles a game, and as a right-back, these are hard numbers to achieve, a number only Alphonso Davies was touching last season. There are a lot of facets Menino could also improve on like focusing on his defensive duels, but right now, based on performance analysis, Menino is performing on a very high level and it makes sense why Chelsea wants the midfielder-cum-right back.
Proper tutelage is a very key aspect in regards to the development of players like Gabriel Menino and Thomas Tuchel could be the man to develop Menino into one of Europe’s best fullbacks. Thomas Tuchel is a manager who has been credited for the development of a lot of young players, namely – Ousmane Dembele, Mikel Merino, Diallo, Xavi Simmons and now, he has a fresh crop of youth at Chelsea.
Thus, Gabriel Menino is a player who could flourish in this Chelsea set-up under Thomas Tuchel. While Chelsea already have a young talent in Reece James who occupies similar positions to the Brazilian, Tuchel might have something else in mind for either player. However, the position conundrum is not something Menino has to worry about, because even with Reece James, the Brazilian can get ample game-time due to Chelsea’s overloaded fixture schedule almost every season.
While it is reported that it will take at least 50 million Euros to lure Palmeiras into the deal, for talent as young and talented as Gabriel Menino, 50 million is a meager amount considering he will fix multiple positions in the squad for a long time to come.
It is important to note that the last youngster to make a move to a Premier League side from Palmeiras was Gabriel Jesus, who is now a success story and a starter for the Brazil national team. Moreover, he is not the only Brazilian Chelsea are trying to bring to Stamford Bridge as Kaio Jorge from Sao Paulo is also being scouted by Chelsea.
South Americans are more often than not safe investments, and in the case of Gabriel Menino, Chelsea would definitely hit the jackpot if they can secure the signature of the youngster and add one of Brazil’s marquee starlets to their ranks.