Newcastle United are believed to be targeting exciting young talents who can help to strengthen the squad for the long-term, with Magpies sporting director Dan Ashworth having already secured the signing of 18-year-old Garang Kuol ahead of the January transfer window.
The Tynesiders could well add to that by bringing in fellow teenager Matheus France from Flamengo, with Globo reporting that Ashworth and co are interested in signing the promising Brazilian prospect.
The 18-year-old is believed to have a €100m (£87m) release clause in his existing deal with his current club, although previous reports have suggested that fellow Premier League outfit Crystal Palace were eyeing a move for closer to £15m.
That latter fee could represent something of a steal for the “special” talent – as described by talent scout Jacek Kulig – with the exciting forward having already scored six times in just 25 senior appearances to date.
The Brazil U20 international also offers remarkable versatility due to his ability to feature through the middle or in a midfield role, with the aforementioned Kulig having previously stated: “Great midfielder, great striker, he can play almost everywhere. One of the most exciting teenagers in Brazil at the moment.”
Interestingly as far as the St James’ Park outfit are concerned, Franca also shares a number of stylistic and statistical similarities with another reported Newcastle target in the form of Goncalo Ramos, according to FBref.
The Benfica gem was seemingly a “top target” for the Magpies during the summer, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, while transfer insider Dean Jones has told GIVEMESPORT that Ashworth and co are still interested ahead of 2023.
The 21-year-old – who could cost around €120m (£105m) due to his release clause – has been in prolific form this season with 15 goals and six assists in 22 games for the Lisbon outfit, having also scored four times in just five games for his country at senior level.
However, the “remarkable” predator – as described by Gary Lineker – could well prove expensive due to that aforementioned asking price, hence Newcastle potentially needing to look at Franca as a suitable alternative.
The duo’s likeness is illustrated by the fact that Ramos ranks in the top 8% in the Men’s next eight competitions for pass completion, while the Flamengo gem is only just behind as he ranks in the top 16%, showcasing their quality in possession.
Equally, while the latter ranks in the top 6% for non-penalty goals, Ramos is only just ahead as he features in the top 5% in that regard, with the pair proving especially ruthless from open play.
As such, turning to Franca could well be an ideal alternative to the Portuguese gem in the New Year, with the teenage Brazilian starlet set to be a prospective signing who could well sparkle for the Magpies for the long haul.