There aren’t many criticisms that you can level at Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp. The German tactician has transformed the club from a top half also-ran into a title-challenging machine.
However, as good as Liverpool’s starting XI may be, their squad lacks depth. One area in particular which they can ill-afford to lose key men is their front three. Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana; all solid players, but not necessarily good enough to retain* a title (*surely they’ll win it/ be handed it?).
With a handful of the club’s fringe players looking set to move on this summer, Liverpool need reinforcements, and one name that is rumoured to be on the Reds’ wish list is Vasco da Gama’s exciting youngster Talles Magno.
The 17-year-old is reportedly being monitored by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, having broken into the Vasco da Gama first team earlier this season.
With just 22 senior appearances to his name, the Brazil Under-17 starlet is something of an unknown quantity for most, so here’s our rundown of seven things you need to know about the potential future Premier League star.
He’s Vasco’s Youngest Debutant This Millennium
At just 16, Magno was thrown in at the deep end as he was brought off the bench against rivals Botafogo.
His side went on to lose the game 1-0, but Magno caught the eye of then-head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and has gone on to become an integral part of Vasco da Gama’s starting XI. The youngster made 15 appearances in Brazil’s Série A following his debut, scoring twice.
His Manager Described Him as an ‘Artist’
Former Real Madrid manager Luxemburgo is no stranger when it comes to spotting young talent. His brief tenure at Real Madrid saw him attract the likes of Sergio Ramos and Robinho to the Santiago Bernabéu.
And he was certainly impressed by what he saw from Magno. Having watched the youngster bamboozle the Fortaleza defence with a rainbow flick, Luxemburgo described Magno as an ‘artist’ in his post-match interview.
His Style of Play is Perfect for Jürgen Klopp
It takes more than just a good footballer to make it at Anfield these days – a player has to be able to adapt to Klopp’s style of play and footballing philosophy. There’s no danger of Magno falling foul there.
Far more than just a pretty footballer, the forward has an intense work ethic. Second of all – although suited to a central role – Magno can play anywhere across the front three. The 17-year-old is more than capable of playing on the left despite being right-footed. Perfect cover for Sadio Mané when necessary.
Real Madrid Are Already Sniffing Around Him
The perennial villain of the piece, there isn’t much chance of a South American wonderkid emerging without Los Blancos’ head being turned.
Madrid are rumoured to have sent scouts over to the Under-17 World Cup last year to watch Magno when he represented Brazil. And the forward did little to dampen excitement with his performances at the competition, bagging two goals and leading his country to World Cup glory.
He Has a €50m Release Clause
Perhaps a little ambitious, but it serves as a reminder of just how highly-rated the youngster is if nothing else.
A whole host of European clubs are said to be interested in acquiring the services of the youngster, with Lazio, Roma and Juventus just a few of Magno’s admirers.
Portuguese side Benfica are already rumoured to have tabled a bid of around €1m for the youngster as a statement of intent to buy – an offer which Vasco da Gama are said to be considering.
He is Nicknamed ‘Magico’
It doesn’t take much of an imagination to establish the origin of this nickname.
The 17-year-old is renowned for his quick feet and his ability to make a fool of defences. Perhaps a little early to be comparing him to the likes of Neymar, but the youngster certainly shares a common trait with the Paris Saint-Germain star in that he likes to showcase his arsenal of skills.
He Was Named in The Guardian’s Next Generation Feature
Every Year since 2014, The Guardian has compiled a list of the 60 best young footballing talents from around the world, who they think will go on to become superstars of the game.
And their eye for talent is pretty good. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marcus Rashford and Ousmane Dembélé were all named in their first edition of the piece and have all gone on to become household names.
It’s not a free ride to stardom, but it’s certainly a decent gauge of who has got the talent to excel if they’ve got the work ethic to match.
Magno was named in the 2019 edition, being described as a ‘breath of fresh air’ to Brazilian football by the publication.