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One name that is being heard around Anfield a lot in recent weeks is Luan Vieira. The 24-year old Brazilian sensation has been linked heavily with a move to Liverpool of late and reports even emerged in the Mirror stating that the Reds were on the verge of completing a £26million move for the man from Brazilian club Gremio.
Liverpool are on the lookout for a new striker in the summer as manager Jurgen Klopp goes about bolstering his ranks ahead of the next season. And if the current speculations are anything to go by, it appears that Luan is high on the wish-list of the German tactician.
Who is Luan Vieira? Will he be a fit at Liverpool? What does the future hold for the Brazilian? Let’s find out.
Born in March 1993, in Sao Jose, Sao Paulo, Luan Guilherme de Jesus Vieira started out as a futsal player for his native team, before making the move to Tanabi who played in the fourth level of Sao Paulo state football, in 2012. After scoring twice from 9 games, the youngster moved to Catanduvense in February 2013 in the Paulista Serie A2 (second tier of Sao Paulo state football). Shortly after making his maiden and only appearance for the club, Gremio came calling and he joined the club’s youth academy.
Luan was called up for the Gremio senior team for the first time in December 2013 and he made his debut a month later in January 2014, in a 0-1 loss to Sao Jose in the Campeonato Gaucho – state championship of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. He finished the competition with 3 goals from 14 games. The Brazilian then went on to make his Serie A debut – Brazil football’s premiere competition, in April. 4 goals from 28 appearances and one more in that year’s Copa Libertadores meant he finished with 8 goals in his first full season with the club.
It was the next season where he started blooming, as he finished 2015 with 17 goals across all competitions from 55 games, leading his side to a third-placed finish in the Serie A and was included in the Brasileirao Team of the Year 2015. He followed it up with another strong campaign in 2016 netting 14 from 54 games.
In the ongoing campaign, Luan has found the back of the net thrice in 4 Copa Libertadores games and has also scored thrice in the State Championships.
Luan has represented the Brazil national team at the U-20 and the U-23 levels. He was named in the provisional squad for the Copa America Centenario in 2016 but was axed from the final squad. Later in the year, he was picked for the Brazil team for the Summer Olympics 2016 held in Rio. The 24-year old was one of the stars of the tournament as Brazil went on to win the Gold Medal.
Earlier this year, in January, Luan made his full international debut for the Selecao in a 1-0 friendly win against Colombia.
Luan is a versatile forward who can play anywhere in attack. A centre-forward primarily, Luan has also been used on the left flank, as an auxiliary striker and in the No. 10 role as well and he has proven his ability to score goals from all positions.
As is the case with most players coming from Brazil, the 24-year old is full of attacking flair and finesse. An excellent dribbler and an equally good passer, Luan can be a nuisance in the attacking third with his direct running, as well as his ability to pick out teammates in dangerous positions. A number of his goals for Gremio have come from long-range efforts, proving his capabilities and technical ability to strike the ball from distance. His crossing ability, though, is something that needs some polishing.
Just as the reports about his impending signature emerged, the president of Gremio, Romildo Bolzan Jr., came out and refuted any such claims, stating that there has been no official approach for the player. As quoted by the Express, he said:
“We have no information, no official proposal. We have absolutely no concrete proposal.”
So the rumours might just after all turn out be rumours and nothing more.
Luan has the ability to excel in this Liverpool side. The 24-year old will relish the “false-nine” role that Jurgen Klopp deploys his forwards in, and would also add suitable cover in the wide positions and in advanced midfield.
In the current inflated market, £26million for someone who is dubbed as a huge talent represents a decent investment, but it does come with a certain amount of risk involved considering that Luan has never played anywhere else apart from his home nation. The recent success of Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City might spur Liverpool to take a leap of faith, but they must also be aware of the struggles of Gabriel Barbosa at Inter Milan and consider all their options before making a move.