Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa has been the subject of mountainous speculation over the last few weeks thanks to stories linking him with a move to England and now, the 22-year-old has added fuel to the fire whilst speaking to the press.
The São Paulo native is currently on loan with boyhood club Santos following his troubled move to Inter Milan but with the terms of his year-long stay set to come to an end in December, the striker has been speaking openly about a future away from the Brazilian outfit. To his credit, Gabigol, as he is affectionately known, has been in scintillating form for the Serie A side, scoring a mightily impressive 25 goals in 48 appearances since returning but with his career now at a key crossroads, it sounds as though he’s keen to give life in Europe another try.
Whilst his spells with Inter Milan and Benfica saw him fail to hit anything close to the heights he’s managed in Brazil, there remains a great deal of interest in him across the Premier League, with Palace, Everton and West Ham all believed to be keen on striking a deal for his services in January. His current employers are thought to be ready to cut their losses and agree to a permanent switch and with such a prolific record for Santos, I’m not surprised to see so many English clubs willing to throw their hat into the ring.
Up until now, I’ve been cautious over Palace’s chances of landing the Brazilian international and given his sky-high profile, I remain highly sceptical but with the man himself admitting to the press that these next few weeks may well be the last he ever plays in Santos colours, I think it’s fair to assume that he’s readying himself for a return to Europe.
It seems fanciful to suggest that the current top scorer in the Brazilian top flight would agree to a deal with Palace but after his struggles at the San Siro, the prospect of being a big fish in a modest pond may well appeal to the 22-year-old. There is no denying that we have talent across midfield and on the flanks, all that’s missing is a prolific goal-scorer to tie it all together. I have no doubt that Barbosa has the potential to be that man, all we need now is a commitment from Gabriel himself.