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Newcastle United are set to rekindle their interest in Brazilian attacker Gabriel Appelt Pires in the summer transfer window as per reports from Marca. The Leganes playmaker was a subject of strong interest from the Magpies in January and now that promotion has been secured and owner Mike Ashley suggesting that he will back the manager in the transfer market, Pires is back on the radar of Rafael Benitez.
The 23-year old has had an excellent debut campaign in the Spanish La Liga and has been the driving force behind Leganes’ bid for survival in the top division. In 32 games this term, Pires has managed 5 goals and an assist and has come out as one of the most underrated playmakers in the division.
With the Magpies reviving their interest in the Brazilian, let’s take a look at who exactly is Gabriel Pires and what he will bring to the table?
Born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in September 1993, Gabriel came through the Vasco da Gama academy, before joining up with Resende Futebol Clube, where he signed his first professional contract in 2010 and made his first senior appearance for the club in the 2011 Campeonato Carioca.
Not so long after that, in April 2011, Pires was snapped up by Juventus, along with his brother Guilherme Pires. However, he did not join up with the Italian side until his 18th birthday, due to the existing rules in place in Brazil. He moved to Turin in January 2012 officially and joined up with the Juventus youth academy and was a part of their reserve team for the rest of the season.
Pires was farmed out on loan from the next season onwards, with spells at Pro Vercelli (2012/13), Spezia (2013/14), Pescara (2014 – Jan 2015) and Livorno (Jan 2015 – Jun 2015). Ahead of the 2015/16 season, the youngster moved on another temporary deal to UD Leganes who were playing in the Spanish Segunda division.
It is there where, the Brazilian was able to flourish as he enjoyed a great campaign, finishing the 2015-16 season with seven goals and four assists from 37 appearances in the division as he helped Leganes to their first ever promotion to La Liga in the history of the club. He also scored one goal from his three Copa Del Rey games in the season.
Following his excellent returns, Leganes triggered his €1 million buyout clause and made the move permanent ahead of their debut campaign in the La Liga. Pires hasn’t let them down after the move, and has once again been one of their best performers this term.
The 23-year old is primarily an attacking midfielder who relishes the No. 10 role but can also play in the deeper central roles or on the flanks if needed. Gabriel has been known for his guile and creativity in attack and his ability to influence play in the attacking third.
At 6’1”, Gabriel has a sturdy frame as well and can tough it out against physical defenders. A solid passer and someone who is an extremely potent threat from direct free-kick situations, the Brazilian is an equally adept dribbler of the ball. He brings a certain dynamism to the attacking play and is extremely hard-working off the ball as well.
Gabriel had revealed in February that Newcastle had made contact in the winter window. Speaking to EFE, he was quoted as saying by the Chronicle Live:
“Yes, I think it was true. But it’s gone and now I think of here, where I am and where I am going to be.It was a club subject – I was training and it happened.
“The club decided it [that I would stay] and that was it.”
But he did leave the door open for an exit in the summer, as he said:
“That [my future] depends on many things. I don’t want to think about that now. I’ve never thought of leaving a club before the league was over.
“I think of doing the best now and when I have to think about whether or not to change clubs, it will be time to think. Now I don’t think about that.”
With him suggesting nothing is concrete about his future, if Newcastle does come calling in the summer, there are good chances a move can happen. The Magpies too have lacked a proper creative influence in their attack, with Rafael Benitez’s options in the No.10 role currently – Mo Diame and Ayoze Perez not setting the stage alight. Gabriel may not be the big name signing Newcastle fans may be hoping for, but taking his age into factor, if he manages to carry the form that he has been in for Leganes, he could prove to be a more than decent addition.