The best transfer targets from South America

The players from Argentina and Brazil who could make a mark in the Premier League

With the January transfer just past the halfway point and every Premier League club frantically trying to strike a balance between making the necessary adjustments and getting good value for money, one market that is often overlooked is the South American one.

Here we look at five young players from Argentina and Brazil who would make fantastic signings for most Premier League clubs...

 

Ricardo Centurión

Age: 19

Club: Racing Club, Argentina

Position: Winger

Racing's 19-year-old winger only made his Argentine league debut near the end of last season but already has established himself as one of the most promising young talents in the division.

Compared by some to a young Angel Di María, he is blessed with searing pace, two good feet and seemingly endless energy that has seen him torture opposition defences this season - with the result being they have often simply resorted to trying to kick him out of the game.

Centurión's fearlessness, skill with the ball and cool head in front of goal has seen him attract attention from all over Europe. Porto and Benfica have both had offers turned down, while Real Madrid have sent scouts to watch him and AC Milan have also expressed a real desire to bring him to Serie A.

Racing are understandably keen to hold on to the player who helped them to their best points haul since they won the title in 2001 and with so much interest in the player, his value has increased. However an offer of £12.5m or more could be enough to prise the youngster away from Argentina.     

 

Leandro Damião

Age: 23

Club: Internacional, Brazil

Position: Forward

Mentioned in practically every transfer window for the last couple of years, Leandro Damião has emerged as one of Brazil's most promising forwards.

His fantastic goal-scoring record for Internacional has earned him a place in the national team squad and he looks like being Brazil's first choice No.9 at the next World Cup. Both powerful and skilful, Leandro Damião already has a Copa Libertadores title under his belt and was top-scorer at the 2012 Olympics.

Tottenham have been long-term suitors of the player and are reported to have recently made a £15m bid for him. However the club are keen to hold onto him for as long as possible and have also reportedly rejected offers from Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter and Juventus.

Internacional's recent sale of Oscar, and their desire to avoid losing two young stars in quick succession, has increased their reluctance to part with the player - particularly as their coffers are full following the deal with Chelsea - so any January move would be costly.

 

Leandro Paredes (pictured above)

Age: 18

Club: Boca Juniors, Argentina

Position: Attacking Midfielder

In a country where the importance and reverence of the No.10 borders on fetishism, it says a lot that for 2013, the teenage Leandro Paredes has been given that shirt, previously worn by the illustrious Diego Maradona and Juan Román Riquelme. There is scarcely a greater honour or declaration of trust in Argentine football.

As is often the way in Argentina, Paredes has risen to prominence fairly quickly; his creative performances from midfield have been a highlight in a sometimes-misfiring Boca side. He managed four goals in 13 appearances in his debut half-season at the end of last year, the highlight a fantastic free-kick against rivals Racing.

Competition for the lightly built enganche's signature could prove to be fierce with AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid, as well as Tottenham and Manchester City all said to be interested in the teen. However a comparatively small price tag, perhaps even as low as £5m, makes Paredes a very enticing prospect.

 

Ezequiel Cirigliano

Age: 20

Club: River Plate, Argentina

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Hailing from the same club and being of similar build, it is easy to see why Ezequiel Cirigliano is often compared to his compatriot Javier Mascherano; it of course also helps that he has displayed a similar aptitude for playing football.

Like all good Argentine No.5s, Cirigliano is equally adept without the ball, shielding his defence, as he is when his side have possession. His game is underpinned by excellent close control and coolness on the ball when pressurised.

Although he has suffered a recent dip in form, he was an integral part of River Plate's succesful promotion campaign last season, producing a series of mature performances despite still being in his teens.

Perhaps lacking a little physicality, he nevertheless has the potential to be an important part of the midfield for any number of big clubs for many years to come. It is therefore not surprising that Manchester City have repeatedly scouted him, while Manchester United, Real Madrid and PSG have also shown an interest in acquiring him.

 

Facundo Ferreyra

Age: 21

Club: Velez Sarsfield, Argentina

Position: Forward

The Primera's joint top scorer in last year's Inicial, his 13 goals in 15 games propelled Velez Sarsfield to the title with a week to spare. The 21-year-old who shone at Banfield last season, despite their campaign ending in relegation, was too good to drop down a division as he proved time and time again at the end of last year on the way to earning the first trophy of his career.

Ferreyra is nicknamed 'Chucky' due to a slight resemblance to the doll from the horror film of the same name although his predatory striker's instincts mean he in fact bears more of a likeness to Hernan Crespo.

He has also excelled in the past while on duty for Argentina's U20s and it is easy to see why he has attracted the attention of Inter and Roma as well as Tottenham and Everton.

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