Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho has reportedly urged the club to sign Brazilian international Lucas Paqueta from Flamengo.
As per reports from Spanish outlet Don Balon, Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho wants Barcelona to make a move for fellow countryman Lucas Paqueta, who is also a target for arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The 21-year old midfielder plies his trade for Flamengo in his homeland and has been heralded as one of the next generation stars for Brazil. Having burst onto the first-team scenes last year, the wonderkid has made huge strides in the ongoing season. So far in 2018, Paqueta has made 27 appearances across all competitions, scoring 6 and assisting 4 goals in the process.
Paqueta was named by Brazil manager Tite in his 30-man preliminary squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but failed to make the cut for the final 23-man roster, along with Barca’s Arthur Melo.
The Flamengo starlet made his international bow for Selecao in their 2-0 win over USA during the international break last week, coming on as a substitute. He made another appearance from the bench as Brazil beat El Salvador 5-0 in another friendly encounter.
Technically gifted, the 21-year old Paqueta can play in any position across the midfield, but has played some of his best football when deployed in a box-to-box role. Blessed with exquisite touch and vision, the Brazilian is seen as someone who can dictate the tempo of the game from the middle of the park.
Barcelona are keen on rebuilding their midfield for the future and see Paqueta as a perfect addition with his technical abilities and versatility. Coutinho, who saw what the midfielder offers first-hand during the international fixtures, has reportedly endorsed a move for him as well.
However, Barcelona will have to fight off competition from bitter rivals Real Madrid for the 21-year old’s signing. Los Blancos’ president Florentino Perez is understood to be intent on securing the talented midfielder at the earliest, just like he signed two more gifted Brazilian youngsters, Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo, not very long ago.
Paqueta has two years left on his contract with Flamengo, which reportedly contains a release clause worth €50 million. The Brazilian outfit are believed to be keen on holding on to their prized asset and to that end, are set to offer him a new contract, which would see his release clause increased to €70 million.
Speaking of the 21-year old Flamengo vice-president Ricardo Lomba said: “Now he’s gone with the national team, it’s clear he’s climbed up a step. We want him to stay and will do everything we can to keep him at the club where he’s developed as a player.”
However, a chance to play for a club of the stature of Barcelona alongside international teammates Coutinho and Arthur could prove to be too good to turn down for the young Paqueta.