Stars of South American champions Gremio eye European move
SAO PAULO (AP) — Forward Luan and midfielder Arthur led Brazil’s Gremio to the Copa Libertadores title on Wednesday and want to play in the FIFA Club World Cup in December. After that, they seem keen to move when the European transfer window re-opens.
Luan scored eight goals for the Brazilians in the prestigious South American club tournament — including a stunning strike in the second leg of the final against Lanus in Buenos Aires — after almost moving to Russia’s Spartak Moscow.
Chosen as best player of the tournament and a people’s favorite to be in the Brazil squad in the 2018 World Cup, the 24-year-old Luan is looking at other opportunities.
“In the middle of the year I chose not to go to Russia, I wanted to stay here because I knew how good this group (of players) was,” Luan said at La Fortaleza stadium after the 2-1 victory over Lanus in the second leg. Gremio won the first leg 1-0 in Porto Alegre last week
Asked about the future, the midfielder-forward said “for now all we need to do is to celebrate.”
Website Transfermarkt estimates Luan’s value at 17 million euros.
Brazilian media says Italy’s Sampdoria is one of the teams interested in the Gremio player, but the list should grow in the next few days, Gremio’s coach Renato Portaluppi admitted.
Luan picked up a thigh injury in September and that stopped Brazil coach Tite from selecting him for Japan and England friendlies. But the pressure is building for his return.
The 21-year-old defensive midfielder Arthur is slowly becoming a more effective box-to-box player.
Spanish newspaper AS said Barcelona representative Robert Fernandez was at La Fortaleza on Wednesday.
Transfermarkt estimates the player to be worth 6 million euros, but Arthur’s break-up clause with Gremio was raised this year from 40 million to 50 million euros after he was linked to Atletico Madrid.
Tite has already tested the player in friendlies and could take him to Russia next year.
“For now, my mind is only here, we have a Club World Cup to play within days,” Arthur said after Gremio paraded through Porto Alegre on Thursday to celebrate its third Copa Libertadores title.
“We all dream of playing in Europe at some point, but I have no rush.”
Gremio has 116 goals this year and hopes to extend that run into the FIFA Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi.
As South American champions, Gremio will start that tournament in the semifinals, hoping for a likely final against UEFA Champions League winner Real Madrid.