By Nathan Jacobs
Premier League champions Leicester City have made a £23m bid for Brazilian forward Gabriel Barbosa.
‘Gabigol’ as he is also known, currently plies his trade in the Brazilian Serie A with Santos, making 84 appearances for the Alvinegro Praiano.
The 19-year-old has found the back of the net five times this season, playing in the full 90 minutes when Santos dispatched fierce rivals Sao Paulo 3-0.
If Gabigol joins, he will be the first ever Brazilian to play for the Foxes as they seek to emulate the heroics of last year.
They began their preparations by strengthening the squad early in the transfer window as they confirmed the capture of defensive midfielder Napalyms Mendy from Nice for £10m. With the pacy forward Ahmed Musa joining from CSKA and the Polish winger Bartosz Kapustka who impressed during Euro 2016 signing from Cracovia Krakow.
Boss Claudio Ranieri has been dealt the blow of losing N’Golo Kante to divisional rivals Chelsea, albeit the £32m fee Leicester pocketted has buffered the club’s transfer budget.
Ranieri must feel though that keeping hold of last season’s superstars Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez is as good as a new signing. However, the addition of a Brazilian wonderkid who was dubbed the ‘next Neymar’ by ESPN would surely get the Foxes fans salivating about repeating the miracles of 2015/16. The transfer is not a foregone conclusion though with Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan also rumoured to be interested.
None of the Sky Sports ‘experts’ have tipped Leicester to follow up last season’s success by finishing in the top four – how sweet it would taste to surprise everyone once again.