At the start of this season’s Brasileirão, few had heard of Gremio’s playmaker Arthur Henrique Ramos de Oliveira Melo, more commonly known as ‘Arthur’. The diminutive midfielder burst onto the scene with a string of fine performances that have earned him a call-up to the seleção and could land him a move to Europe and a place on the plane to Russia for next year’s World Cup.

Arthur has been a mainstay of Gremio’s midfield as the Porto Alegre side have assured themselves of a top four finish in the league, and are on course to winning the Copa Libertadores, having won the first leg of the final 1-0 against Lanus. The second leg in Buenos Aires is tonight and it could well be Arthur’s final appearance for ‘Imortal Tricolor’.

Gremio turned down a bid for him in the summer from an unnamed Premier League club, but with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United all circling, it looks likely that Arthur will be moving to Europe in the January transfer window.

Brazil have a glittering array of attacking talent and some of the world’s best defenders but if they have an area of weakness ahead of next year’s World Cup it is in midfield. A midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Renato Augusto is good, but probably not at the level of European heavyweights Spain and Germany.

Arthur is a midfielder who can do it all, boasting an average passing accuracy of 93% plus 3 tackles/interceptions per game in the league this season. He possesses a burst of pace and the vision to play imaginative passes, which has seen him compared to Andres Iniesta, and he could just be the final piece in Brazil’s jigsaw as they aim to win their first World Cup since 2002.



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In an aged midfield such as the Brazilian one, new talents mean that Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho are able to take a breath. In fact in the Brazil National team over the past few years we’ve seen many older players playing as playmaker or defensive midfielders, in addition to those previously named: Ramires, Hernanes, Renato Augusto, Lucas Leiva, Elias, Paulinho…

Big clubs are always looking for young talents, and National teams too. Dunga likes to give young talents a chance and so decided to preserve his best players to help them. He said about young players picked up from the U23 National Team: “They are not boys, they are professionals, men playing with responsibility for their clubs. It is important to give them experience. We always try to merge so that they acquire more experience in the squad. Players need to understand that they are here for the Copa América, and not the Olympics. The future depends on the present.”

Of those young players there is a talent who will possibly go to the next Olympics: Walace Souza Silva.

It would be strange not to see Walace in the Olympic Brazilian team: with the Championship starting soon, we will surely see Walace as a regular in Gremio’s line up. But who is this Brazilian boy?

Wanted by a host of big European clubs, especially a number of Italian teams, Walace doesn’t want to miss the chance to take the plunge. At 21 years old, he’s a natural defensive midfielder but can also play as a CM and in the number 10 position. He’s really good at tackling, aerial duels and shooting from distance, a wonderful mix of technical qualities and physical gifts. Fast for his height, he’s a nice dribbler too and proficient in passing from long distances.

He has to improve his mental approach as is the case with almost all young players, because he lacks concentration when pressed by the opposition and he must impose himself more in the bigger games.

His playing style can be compared to that of Pogba. Indeed he’s not mature and not trained in the same way as the Frenchman, but he has some similar qualities and needs to work on the same mental weaknesses as Pogba. He’s a diamond in the rough and he needs to refine his unripe features.

Recently Tottenham have been linked with a £7 million bid, however Gremio’s president dismissed the idea of a summer transfer to Spurs being sanctioned. However if Walace showcases his undoubted talent this season, then it will surely be hard for Gremio to hold on to their next star player.

This is just one of the young players to keep an eye on, if he gets his chance to represent  Brazil at the Olympics games. All the soccer fans want to see new champions rising and this boy definitely has the right foundations in place be one of them!

About the author – Marco Santanche

Marco was born in Rome and supports Inter because of Luiz Nazario Da Lima Ronaldo. He is a Brazilian citizen because of his father’s roots. He played futsal for several years, even in the FIGC (Italian FA) as a winger, playmaker and striker. He is now studying for a degree in finance.


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