We’ve all seen this script before. A Brazilian wonderkid arrives with a bang in the league. He dazzles on the pitch, and becomes a key player for his team at a young age, and the very next moment, European sharks start circling.
Now, the next step is often the one which makes or breaks the player’s career but till then, the path ahead is full of hopes, dreams, and vast potential.
That is the position at which Palmeiras’ Luis Guilherme finds himself.
The 17-year-old midfielder is the apple of the eye of his team, a desire for European giants, and the only way is up.
But why is there so much hype around the Brazilian, and is it justified? Let’s have a look-
Who is Luis Guilherme?
Luis Guilherme is a 17-year-old midfielder who has broken out in a big way at Palmeiras. It shouldn’t surprise anybody since Palmeiras is the breeding ground for some of football’s finest wonderkids, even recently.
Endrick is, of course, the crown jewel as he’s set to move to Real Madrid soon, but it is a testament to their academy that another gem has arrived so soon after.
Guilherme joined their famed youth system in 2017 as an 11-year-old and within five years, was deemed good enough to sign his first professional contract.
So meteoric has been his rise that less than a year after signing professional terms, he was making his first-team debut a year later against Tombense in Copa do Brasil.
Fast forward a few months, and he has already made 15 appearances for the senior team, albeit playing only 428 minutes, as the manager has eased him into senior football.
Besides his club exploits, a measure of his talent can be gained by his international accolades. Despite being just 17, he is now a regular member of Brazil U20s, which is not an easy side to get into, considering the richness of great young players in the country.
So, what type of player is Luis Guilherme?
Style of play
There are certain traits that you associate with most Brazilian players, especially those who are attack-minded.
Needless to say, Guilherme also has those in abundance. He plays very “off-the-cuff”. There’s a certain fluidity in his playing style that is hard to match unless a player is born with it.
As an attack-minded midfielder, the way he glides around the pitch is very cathartic to watch. The ball sticks to his feet like glue and the small tricks and flicks make his game an appointment viewing.
In possession, he is like a Brazilian version of Frenkie de Jong- extremely press-resistant due to his agility, with an additional “Samba skill” repertoire which makes your jaw drop.
His skilful dribbling makes him an asset higher up the pitch which is why his eventual future might end up being further forward, as a No 10 or out wide in a creative role.
In the defensive phase, he has shown glimpses of being proficient as his frame is built like an all-around midfielder. He is able to hold the ball up in the face of intense pressure before releasing it at the opportune moment, is good at nicking off the ball from suspect opposition, and regularly draws fouls to give his team a breather.
If he moves further forward, he can become a player like Paul Pogba was at his peak. He already has the elusiveness and lanky style of dribbling like the Frenchman. With a bit more bulking up to add to his tall frame, he’ll become the complete midfielder.
Luis Guilherme transfer rumours
As the transfer fees have started soaring, big clubs are increasingly willing to bet a lower, albeit a huge amount in context to age, on wonderkids.
For Real Madrid, it paid off big time twice with Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr, who were bought as teenagers for lucrative sums at the time but are now valued at more than twice the buying price.
They repeated the trick with Endrick from Palmeiras, which is why it is likely that Guilherme won’t stay in Brazil for long either.
Every major European club is already after him. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City are the usual suspects in England. However, the La Liga giants can never be ruled out for South American prodigies.
For now, the most likely course of action could be a repetition of the Endrick deal.
Guilherme might finalise a move to a big European club but stay in Palmeiras for a while to get more first-team education.
That would be a mutually beneficial deal for all parties. A lucky and proactive club will get their hands on a potentially generational talent. The player will stay in familiar surroundings in his formative years, getting plenty of senior football experience.
And Palmeiras will get to keep their gem for a little longer and hopefully make great memories with their latest wonderkid.
Due to the language barrier and weather, South American youngsters rarely choose to make the step up to England directly. That means the La Liga giants are the favourites for Guilherme.
However, it would be a huge miss for the Premier League if he can’t be eventually tempted to come to the English league. That’s the kind of talent he is.