This morning brought us news out of Brazil that Chelsea have made a bid for another talented young Brazilian defender. Matheus Dória Macedo is an 18-year old center back currently playing for Botafogo, and has recently earned his first cap for the Brazilian national team. He was one of the few Brazilian players to look good at the last South American U20 championships, and has supposedly been on the radar of clubs like Juventus, Barcelona, and Manchester City.
Doria stands 6'3" tall, and while he's not the heaviest player out there, just looking at him would lead you to believe he's an absolutely fantastic athlete. You'd be correct in assuming that, as his speed and strength already stand out at the senior level despite the player being just 18 years old.
The player has an interesting background, as his early years were spent playing more futsal than football. About 4 years ago he began making the switch, and as he's developed physically, he's become one of the better center back prospects out there.
Like rumored targets Kurt Zouma and Eliaquim Mangala, Doria is another elite athlete for whom the sky would be the limit if he develops the non-physical side of his game. He's probably closer to Zouma than Mangala at the moment in terms of that development, as at 18, he's still relatively new to the speed of the professional game.
Doria is a bit different from the pair though, as he's far better than either with the ball at his feet already. From what I've seen of the player thus far, he's an outstanding tackler who does a nice job dribbling into space to help his club get out of trouble. He's also seems a fairly solid passer with a bit of the flair for the dramatic.
That said, Doria sometimes seems to struggle with reading what's going on around him, and too often relies on his fantastic athleticism and dribbling skill to make up for poor positioning. I've also noticed that he doesn't seem to make enough use of his defensive partners, often seeming to forget that he's not alone in the center of the defense*.
*I suppose it's easy to forget you have help when Marcio Azevedo is playing at fullback next door, as he's back in defense about as often as Juan Mata is. That's not a good quality in a left back...
If Chelsea do manage to add Doria, it's highly unlikely he'd factor into the first team this season. The player has been capped once for the Brazilian national team, getting 3 minutes of action in a 4-0 thrashing of Bolivia this past June. With Brazil looking like a legitimate contender for the World Cup next summer, it's unlikely that Doria sees many more caps before the fall of 2013.
With that in mind, he'd almost certainly fail to qualify for a work permit in England. Talk that he'd be a "replacement" for "Barca-bound" David Luiz** is just asinine, as he's still quite raw and would have a hard time replacing anyone without a permit to play in England. If Doria was be a replacement for anyone, it would probably be John Terry when the captain eventually steps aside.
**Believe it or not, Sky Italy is already running with this nonsense
The interest in Doria is simple, he's a fantastic athlete that has shown flashes of world class ability, and the club would be hoping he develops into a star. He's not a guy that's going to step into the Premier League right now and start regularly, even if he was to be granted for the necessary papers to do so.
The move would also be complicated a bit by third party ownership issues, as Botafogo would be only one of the outfits the club has to deal with. Clubs in many other leagues wouldn't be dealing with the ban on third party ownership*** and wouldn't have to buy them out, but in England, it's not permitted.
***They should though, as football would be far better off without it
I really like Doria individually, as I've always been a fan of bringing in elite but raw athletes and attempting to develop them. Having a Futsal background makes the player even interesting, as he's very comfortable in tight spaces and still learning to use that elite athleticism on the pitch. If a reasonable deal can be worked out between all of the parties involved, I'd be thrilled to add him to this season's loan roundups.
More from We Ain't Got No History:
- Ba: "More competition is going to make me better anyway"
- Here's all the action from the u21 friendly vs. Sutton United
- Report: Chelsea make bid for Brazilian prodigy Doria
- PSG midfielder wants out, but should Chelsea get involved?
- Chelsea squad revealed for the Guiness International Championship Cup in the USA