Brazilian youngster Vitor Roque has been tipped to shine in Europe amid reported interest from the likes of Newcastle United, Arsenal and Real Madrid.
The 17-year-old forward is one of a number of South American youngster reportedly watched by the Magpies over the last six months. Newcastle were credited with an interest in Velez Sarsfield midfielder Maximo Perrone and Vasco da Gama prospect Andrey Santos - but lost out on the highly-rated duo after they were tempted by offers from Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.
United will maintain a significant presence in the South American market and will hope to lean on the impressive form of Brazilian star Bruno Guimaraes when it comes to persuading players to move to the North East. Roque is said to be the latest prospect on their radar - although they face competition from Premier League leaders Arsenal, who reportedly had a £22m bid rejected in recent weeks.
The Athletico Paranaense starlet has scored seven goals and provided three assists during his first 36 appearances for the Serie A and enjoyed a successful spell at the South American Under-20 Championship as he scored six times in eight games as Brazil saw off the challenges of Colombia and Uruguay to claim the title.
Speaking to Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte, Roque’s agent Andre Cury explained the situation surrounding interest in his client and suggested the timing could be right for a move to Europe as a number of elite strikers reach the final years of their careers.
He said: “We have already had offers, but they were refused. There was an English club, a Spanish club, and an Italian one. We got more or less an offer of 25 million euros. We immediately rejected it, because I believe that the player has a higher value than that. The time (to leave) is when the right club arrives. One which has a great project, reaches the price-tag, and everyone leaves this negotiation satisfied.
“(Roque is) demonstrating all the physical, mental and technical characteristics to play for a big club in Europe. The big ‘number nines’ in Europe are of advancing ages, like Benzema, Cavani, and Lewandowski. They will open that gap for these players. Vitor Roque is going to have a great future in Europe. Mainly because of his hard work and strong mentality.”