The last few days have seen Crystal Palace linked with a January move for Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa, with a selection of other English clubs now being named in the race for the 22-year-old.
The Brazilian international rose to fame at Santos, where he made his debut at the age of just 17. Between the years of 2013 and 2016, ‘Gabigol” as he has come to be affectionately known, bagged a mightily impressive 56 goals in 154 appearances for the Serie A side, alerting all manner of clubs across Europe to his presence.
After much speculation, Inter Milan won the battle for his signature and announced his arrival on a five-year deal, reported to worth close to £30 million in August of 2016. Sadly, for both he and the Italians, the move did not work out as planned and after making just 10 appearances in blue and black, he was loaned out to Benfica for the entirety of the 2017/18 season.
Despite initial hopes of him regaining some decent form in Portugal, Barbosa went on to make just five appearances for the Eagles before cutting the terms of his loan short in January of 2018. Shortly after, it was revealed that Santos had negotiated a one-year loan deal with Inter to take Gabriel back to Brazil, where he promptly rediscovered the magic touch in front of goal.
His second stint in Brazil has brought 25 goals in 48 appearances, proving that the hype which surrounded his move to Italy was justified, whilst leaving question marks over how to bring the best out of him in a European environment. Clearly, the likes of Palace, Everton and West Ham do hold an interest in him ahead of the January window but with such a patchy record, any move for him will encourage a sense of caution over his potential for success.
The stories all seem to suggest that the man himself is keen to secure a move to England and with Palace desperately in need of goals, he would be guaranteed an immediate starting place but how Inter will feel about another loan move is up for debate. There is always the potential of a permanent switch but given the front-man’s history in Europe, you’d imagine each and every interested party would want to try before they buy.
Do you think we would be able to help him rebuild his reputation? Is a move for him worth the risk given our weekly struggles in front of goal? Let me know what you think.