Roberto Firmino is the subject of heavy interest from Premier League clubs Manchester United and Liverpool. The Brazilian international was reported to be heading to Old Trafford this summer but new reports have emerged claiming Liverpool are ready to reignite their interest in the player by making a swoop for him in the next week. It would make perfect sense given Raheem Sterling is almost certainly out. Paul Joyce of the Express reported: The Anfield club is keen on Hoffenheima s attacking midfielder who has also been tracked by Manchester United. Their interest is not dependent on the departure of Sterling, who has been the subject of two rejected bids from Manchester City. The latest was worth a guaranteed fee of A?35m. Liverpool will decide whether to progress with their interest next week.
This is not the first time Liverpool have been linked with the Brazilian. They were also said to be interested in his services last summer and have apparently been scouting him for a long while. Whether they will formalize their interest and match Hoffenheim’s valuation which is in the region of A?25m, remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, Firmino is headed to England as his representative Roger Wittmann, head of the ROGON sports management group, confirmed Firmino will move to England after four years in the Bundesliga.
It is more likely that Firmino will head to Manchester United and we take a look at the player who looks set for a Premier League move.
Firmino began his professional career in 2009 with Brazilian Serie B team Figueirense. He went on to make near 40 appearances for the side and scored eight goals in the process. His style of play and confidence ensured a European move came his way and in January 2011, he was signed by Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for about a 4m. At 19 years of age, the player got his Bundesliga debut. Since then, the player has made 153 appearances for the German side and scored 49 goals in the process. He received his first national call up last October and has since established himself in coach Dunga’s plans.
Firmino has incredible awareness and vision in the attacking third and his dominance in that crucial part of the pitch makes him an attractive prospect. The 22 year old can play on the wings or as a secondary striker and has been deployed there for his club and country, but he is more naturally a number 10 and prefers that role.
The 23 year-old is an intelligent player who is very inventive and can hunt down defenders with finesse. He has a keen eye for goal but what is most impressive about his game is his work rate and selflessness. He had ten assists last season, a feat bettered only by Kevin de Bruyne in Germany, and eleven assists the season before. In the process, he has been the Sinsheim side’s highest goal provider in the last two years. The attacker’s hard working attitude will make him a fan favorite at his new club quickly. He is also confident of shooting himself and scored seven goals last season and nine goals the season before. In the last two years in Germany, he also has created the most chances from open play (140) and completed the most dribbles (291).
The player has a great passing range as well. He is a hard worker who also pitches in defensively and regularly tracks back. Firmino works tirelessly and tries to do everything from contributing upfront and giving opposition attackers a defensive fight too
In a brief “scout report” given above, we observe how Firmino has all the right attributes to play at a top European club week in, week out and it looks like after four years of proving himself, he is finally getting his chance. So which one of the rival clubs is the ideal one for the Brazilian?
Manchester United is the most distinguished Premier League club there is and the name of the club is enough for player to be tempted to it despite of any European football, as was illustrated last summer. However, United have the advantage of Champions League football this season too and surely that’s a big plus in their favor. Louis van Gaal is assembling a dynamic team to win the Premier League title next season and Firmino could be part of that fight and that side if he decides to join the Red Devils.
Simply because of the game time he could get in the presence of the attacking midfielders van Gaal has. British record fee signing Angel di Maria is unsure of a starting place at the moment with Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata the other players that will have to fight for a place. Memphis Depay is likely to be part of the first team and Firmino could really find chances hard to come by. At the same time, since United will be part of four competitions next season, Firmino might be involved more and if he grasps his chance, he could be a regular starter for the side.
With Raheem Sterling’s departure all but done, the Brazilian could be the direct replacement for the Englishman and could play every week and contribute to the side. Based on ability, Firmino will walk into the Liverpool starting 11. His versatility means Brendan Rodgers would be able to include him alongside Philippe Coutinho in the starting line-up. Liverpool need a statement of ambition from their signings and Firmino could be exactly that. The Reds are looking to get back to the Champions League next season and Firmino could be an instrumental part in that.
Simply because there is a better chance of winning trophies at Manchester United at the moment, than there is at Liverpool.
Of course it is mere speculation at the moment whether Liverpool have genuinely entered the race for the Brazilian international. However, if indeed the two clubs are competition for the 23 year-old, Firmino needs to assess what he values more. At Manchester United, he would get to fight for his place and be part of a new era van Gaal is attempting to bring at Old Trafford, with exciting players. At Liverpool, the guarantee of trophies is not as much as United’s but there is a better chance of him playing more and helping the side and pushing it towards success.