Roberto Firmino’s astonishing season at Hoffenheim has earned him no shortage of suitors, with FC Bayern Munchen, Liverpool and Barcelona already credited with an interest, and Chelsea are the latest side on board.
The Brazilian may not have made Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Selecao squad for the 2014 World Cup, but his sterling work in the Bundesliga’s third-highest scoring attack suggests he’ll be a good deal closer to the mix by the time Russia 2018 rolls around.
Only three players ended 2013/14 with higher whoscored.com average-performance ratings in the German top flight than the 22-year-old.
Firmino’s 16 goals and 11 assists constitute a whopping 37.5 per cent of Hoffenheim’s total league output for the entire campaign.
It’s the kind of form that makes it surprising that Brazil, rated 3/1 favourites to lift World Cup on home soil, didn’t consider at least calling him up for closer inspection during the endless string of friendly matches that has constituted their warm up for the tournament.
Primarily used as number-ten style attacking midfielder he remains a thoroughly versatile operative who has also shone at centre-forward, left-wing and even central midfield for the village club this term.
The Express suggest that Chelsea will look to bring in the Brazilian in addition to, as opposed to instead of, Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa.
A seriously cheap £15m is the amount the paper suggest will be needed to encourage Hoffenheim to loosen their grip on their star player.
However, the player himself has stated in the past that he wishes to stay with the side that bought him to Europe from Figueirense back in 2011.
Whether or not Jose Mourinho can coax a change of perspective from the youngster remains to be seen, but the fact that Chelsea are being linked with a player of his primary playing position should set alarm bells ringing for Oscar.