It’s believed that despite interest from big spenders like Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester United, the Brazilian teenager – Vitor Hugo Roque Ferreira – prefers Barcelona over the rest.
Today let’ talk about whether he’ll be the next big thing for our front trio over the next decade or so.
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Who is Vitor Roque?
The 17-year-old Brazilian forward was born on February 28, 2005, in Timóteo, Minas Gerais. Vitor joined América Mineiro’s youth setup when he was 10 years old (in 2015), and the side’s youth categories were wowed by this kid by 2018. However, in March of 2019, Vitor signed a youth contract with Cruzeiro, resulting in a tense situation. América Mineiro filed a lawsuit against his new club in the state labor department, and two months later, the two clubs reached an agreement, with Cruzeiro keeping 65% and Mineiro retaining 35% of the player’s economic rights.
He signed his first professional contract in May 2021, after spending two years at Cruzeiro’s youth system. However, he had to wait another 5 months before making his senior debut. Vitor made his senior debut in Série B (2nd division of Brazilian football) as a substitute against Botafogo on October 12, 2021. Vitor scored his first goal in a game against Villa Nova in Campeonato Mineiro in February 2022. He made 23 appearances for Cruzeiro before leaving in April, scoring 6 goals. Roque joined Athletico Paranaense of Série A (1st flight of Brazilian football) on April 12th for €4.70 million. It was the most expensive transfer in the club’s 99-year history. Roque has produced 10 goal contributions as of 2023, with 7 goals and 3 assists.
After a promising run in club football, the 2023 U20 South American Championship has piqued the world’s interest on him. In the two games he played he scored three goals while providing an assist. He currently has a market value of €11.00 million and is a major transfer target for many big clubs in Europe.
Why he is special?
The teenager stands 1’72m tall and is a versatile forward. He can play as both a second striker and a right winger. His physical strength is the most striking aspect of him. With his strong and muscular legs, he can match any physical and tactical profile, including midfielders and defenders. His contributions with excellent ball movement are what propels him forward. He can receive passes from wherever on the field and use his strength to break away from the defenders to make individual runs or find his teammates.
Furthermore, he has the ability to penetrate into high-traffic areas and find the right pass, which generally results in shots or potential assists. He is not a traditional number nine like Lewandowski, R9, or Aguero. But, like Suarez, he is a versatile attacker. We can’t yet predict him to be Suarez 2.0 because we’ve seen only so little of him on the bigger stage. Regardless of that, with his motivated, aggressive, and competitive mindset, he has the capacity to go on and define an era of his own.
Will Barcelona be able to pull out this transfer?
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan club is interested in this footballing prodigy as a potential backup for Lewandowski. However, they are not the only ones who are intrigued. Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester United are currently the other leading bidders for this special talent. When compared to Barcelona, they have spent far too much over the last 2-3 seasons, whilst our financial issue has prevented us from doing so.
Barcelona is rumored to have offered Athletico Paranaense €30 million + €5 million add-ons. When compared to the latest spendings of PSG, Chelsea, and United, it appears to be relatively little. But Barcelona seems to have nabbed the deciding factor. Despite interest from other clubs, Roque has prioritized a move to Barcelona, according to multiple sources. If those rumors are true, Barcelona will almost certainly have the upper hand in Roque’s transfer quest.
What to expect if he joins?
As already said, Roque can play at SS/CF or RW. When you look at our current squad, Xavi is unlikely to utilize him as a right winger. Because we already have some decent players in that position, like as Dembele, Raphinha, and Ferran.
However, we don’t have many choices for the CF position. Lewandowski is our ultimate top pick for that post. But, at his age, we all know he doesn’t have much left in him. As a result, the club is urged to seek a successor. Ferran and Fati are the two that we have in our system. But they are both out of shape and lacking confidence.
When we consider all of that we can expect him to be our backup striker for the coming season, if he makes a move to Barcelona in the summer.
If he do, will he be able to be the remedy for Barcelona’s forward crisis?