Brazil have been one of the hardest hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has not spared the football industry either. Even one of the richest teams in the nation, Flamengo, who won the Brazilian League and the Copa Libertadores last year, have been desperate to return to the pitch so they could raise the funds necessary to keep the club afloat and keep paying their rather expensive squad (which includes players such as former Chelsea defender Filipe Luís).
But while Flamengo will likely find a way out of trouble thanks to Amazon.com’s millions via their new sponsorship, teams like Santos — once the club of Pelé and Neymar — do not have that option. Instead, they will have to raise funds by selling some of their most valuable players. (Chelsea were recently linked with young Kaio Jorge, for example.)
Another valuable asset is centre back Lucas Veríssimo, a solid performer last season under the guidance of former Chile national team manager Jorge Sampaoli. In fact, he’s been impressive enough to garner the attentions of Chelsea, Atalanta, Inter Milan, and Sampdoria, all of whom have made inquiries for the player in the recent past according to Santos president José Carlos Peres. Sampdoria have even had a concrete bid rebuffed, with Peres looking for at least €10m.
At age 24, Veríssimo is indeed among the best defenders the country can offer. His passing skills, which were one of the biggest factors behind him becoming a key player for Sampaoli, certainly do not hurt his case. He might need some time to close the gap between the level of defending needed in the Brazilian Serie A and the level needed in Italy or England, but if he is to make the jump to Europe, now would be the time to do so.