Chelsea are reportedly interested in making a move for Brazilian youngster Gabriel Menino, who is also a target for La Liga giants Atletico Madrid.
According to a report from Brazilian publication UOL, Chelsea are poised to go head-to-head with current La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid for the signing of Gabriel Menino from Palmeiras.
Menino, 20, came through the youth ranks at Palmeiras, breaking into the senior team in March last year. Since then, he has gone on to feature 59 times for the Brazilian outfit, chipping with four goals and seven assists in the process.
A central midfielder by trade, Menino has been used in a variety of positions in his burgeoning career so far, starting from right-back to a left-sided midfielder as well as a winger. Primarily, though, the 20-year-old is a midfielder who can play as No. 8 as well as a No. 6.
Menino’s growth into a regular for Palmeiras in a short time since making his debut has seemingly alerted Atletico Madrid, who are keen on snapping up the midfielder. Los Rojiblancos are said to have scouted Menino and are considering opening negotiations over a possible transfer for him.
However, they could potentially face competition from their Champions League Round of 16 opponents Chelsea, who are also tailing Menino. The Blues have a stacked midfield unit consisting of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Billy Gilmour along with on-loan players such as Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley.
But, as has been seen at times this season, Kante has had problems with injuries and fitness while Jorginho continues to be linked with a potential return to Italy, with reports claiming that the midfielder could reunite with Maurizio Sarri at Napoli next season.
And with the futures of the on-loan stars up in the air, Chelsea could use with adding more bodies to their midfield unit come summer, with Aurelien Tchouameni being linked of late. Now, Menino has also emerged as a target for the west London giants.
As things stand, though, Atletico Madrid’s interest in the Palmeiras man is much firmer than that of Chelsea. However, the Colchoneros need to get rid of some of the players already on the roster to make room for fresh arrivals in the summer, with the likes of Thomas Lemar, Saul Niguez and Lucas Torreira likely to be on the chopping blocks.
The situation provides Chelsea with room to move in front of Atleti and snap up the youngster. But, it remains to be seen if the Blues’ interest in Menino turns into anything substantial in the coming weeks.