Newcastle United and Crystal Palace have reportedly been linked with a move for Flamengo’s exciting teenage attacking midfielder Matheus Franca.

Newcastle United are reportedly one of two Premier League clubs that are interested in signing Brazilian teenager Matheus Franca. That’s according to TNT Sport, which claims both the Magpies and Crystal Palace are among the clubs keeping tabs on Flamengo’s highly coveted midfielder, who is valued at €20 million by the Brazilian club.

Matheus Franca is the latest teenage prodigy to come out of the Flamengo ranks and has reportedly attracted the attention of the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City, among others on the continent.

Franca broke into Flamengo’s first-team picture under manager Paulo Sousa last season but has truly exploded onto the scene this season. The 18-year-old midfielder has made 24 appearances across all competitions for the Brazilian heavyweights, finding the back of the net an impressive eight times and bagging three assists as well.

Flamengo, for their part, moved quickly to fend off interest from Europe’s elite, tying him down on a five-year deal last January that includes an £87 million release clause, the biggest in the club’s history. But that hasn’t fazed European clubs from chasing after the wonderkid’s services. While that amount appears steep for an 18-year-old, Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has claimed the player would be available for a much more reasonable price.

Now, TNT Sport has added the names of Newcastle United and Crystal Palace as two Premier League clubs heating up the transfer race for the Flamengo youngster.

Palace, for one, have recently been touted to make an adventurous move for the highly rated Flamengo prodigy, and despite facing significant competition from other top clubs, the Eagles would be prepared to pay around £15 million plus a sell-on percentage for Franca’s signature.

As for Newcastle United, Franca is the latest Brazilian prospect to be linked with a move to Tyneside ahead of the January transfer window. Brazil has long been considered a goldmine for potential jewels, and the club are making a proactive effort to attract fresh South American talent to St James’ Park.

Newcastle United’s head of recruitment, Steve Nickson, has been back to Brazil for several scouting missions recently. That has seen the names such as Andrey Santos and Angelo Gabriel being consistently mentioned in the Newcastle rumour mill. The Magpies are trying to sign stars of the future, and Franca fits the profile.

Indeed, he is already showcasing early signs of blossoming into an incredible talent. In addition to his technical qualities and Brazilian flair, he has a very good understanding of the game and exploits open spaces effectively.

He also has a sharp eye for goal and is an excellent finisher, as can be seen by his record this season, while he also boasts tremendous versatility. All in all, he looks to be a talent who has the potential to become a top-class midfielder in European circuits.

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