Roberto Firmino: Who is the Liverpool and Manchester United target close to leaving Hoffenheim?

A look at the Brazil international that United are closing in on

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The Independent Football

Manchester United appeared to be favourites to sign Hoffenheim's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino after the player's agent confirmed he is "moving to England", but reports emerged on Tuesday that Liverpool have stolen a march on their rivals by opening official talks/

Firmino is currently with the Brazilian national team for the Copa America tournament in Chile, but upon his return he is expected to seal a move to the Premier League that could cost as much as £21.7m.

His agent, Roger Wittmann, told German newspaper Bild: "All I can say is that he's moving to England.”

 

But what do we know about Firmino?

  • Age: 23
  • Club: 1899 Hoffenheim
  • Position: Attacking midfielder/forward
  • International record: Six caps, three goals

Firmino began his professional career in 2009 with Brazilian Serie B team Figueirense, where he made his first-team debut against Ponte Preta in a substitutes’ appearance. He would go on to make 38 appearances for the Brazilian side, scoring eight goals, before being plucked to Europe by Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in December 2010 ahead of a move when the transfer window opened on 1 January 2011.

Aged 19, Firmino made his Hoffenheim debut that month in a Bundesliga match against Mainz – again as a substitute. He didn’t score his first goal for the club until 16 April in the 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

He would fall foul of former manager Holger Stanislawski in November 2011 when he and striker Chinedu Obasi were dropped from the first-team squad for showing up late to a training session, but was a more prominent figure in 2012/13 when he made 36 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals.

He continued to improve the following season and finished as the Bundesliga’s fourth highest goalscorers with 16 to his name, signing a new contract that runs until June 2018.

That season, he made his Brazil debut in the November friendly against Turkey, where for the third time in his career he made his debut as a substitute replacement. It would only take six days until he scored his first international goal as Firmino found the back of the net in the 2-1 win in Austria, and has since gained four more caps adding two goals to his total.

Brazil.jpg
Roberto Firmino in action for Brazil

Having been with Hoffenheim for more than four years, Firmino began to catch the eye of a number of clubs across Europe, but it appears the allure of Manchester United, who can now boast Champions League football once again providing they come through a play-off tie in August, have won the race to sign the highly-rated forward.

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