With the financial gap to the Premier League growing ever wider, it appears both Barcelona and Real Madrid have resolved to do what the likes of Sevilla might have done in the past – dominate the South American market.
With the signing of Endrick Felipe, it takes the total Real Madrid have invested in Brazilian players to €230m over the last four years. Eder Militao, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes have all commanded hefty fees.
Meanwhile the Blaugrana have been less successful in recent years, but have made Vitor Roque of Atletico Paranaense one of their key targets for the summer. An under-20 teammate of his in the Brazil side could well be the next Canarinha to command a large fee at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Amongst others, Sport have linked central defender Robert Renan with a move, despite the fact that he only moved to Zenit St. Petersburg a month ago. Out of contract, he joined the Russian side on a free transfer. He now has a release clause of €30m.
Renan is currently performing at a high level at the heart of the Brazilian defence. The 19-year-old is part of a backline that has conceded just four goals in eight games in the South American under-20 championship.
Standing out for his powerful physical attributes, Renan is comfortable playing in a high line and defending in space against agile forwards. One of the more valuable attributes, it allows managers to take risks further up the pitch with the potential to cover in behind.
Like many young central defenders, he is more than adept with the ball at his feet too. It now comes almost as a pre-requisite that central defenders at the top level must be comfortable playing through a press. Renan is also left-footed, and capable of moving across to the left side of defence.
Renan has still only played just over a thousand senior minutes of football. He played on thirteen occasions for Corinthians in 2022 before joining Zenit early in January.
Chief Scout Juni Calafat has been following Renan for some time, but apparently was unable to persuade Los Blancos to bring him in on a free this January. Quite apart from being Real Madrid, the number of Brazilians already at Real Madrid will be an attractive point to Renan, if they do decide to move for him.