South American arrivals are becoming more and more popular on the doorstep at Anfield.
The club’s last two major arrivals for big money fees in Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz were both born on the continent and made their early football careers in South America.
Given the success of the latter and the exciting potential of the former, South America is a market FSG may look to dip into again — especially since Brexit regulations introduced in January 2021 have made it easier for English clubs to sign players from the South American continent.
The new point-based system to secure work permits in England is weighted quite favourably towards South American players with the Brazilian, Colombian and Argentinian leagues having been awarded relatively high points as well as club competitions like the Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores.
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In addition, younger players can also accumulate points in the U20 Copa Libertadores and other youth national team championships on the continent based on appearances, goals and assists.
When Núñez and Díaz were playing for their respective clubs in South America, it would have been virtually impossible for Liverpool to bring them to Anfield, but now that possibility is on the cards for their future heirs and Liverpool.com have taken a look at a few players who could be of interest to Liverpool and who could follow in Núñez and Díaz’s footsteps.
The first step in South America has to be at Núñez’s former club, Club Atlético Peñarol. Not only does the Uruguayan club based in Montevideo have an impressive track record of bringing through youth players such as Federico Valverde (now at Real Madrid) and Núñez among many others, they are also the current U20 Copa Libertadores champions and will play Benfica (the UEFA Youth League champions) in the youth Finalissima in August.
Some of the stand-out players from the group are 19-year-old, Máximo Alonso, who has two goals and two assists in five games at the U20 Copa Libertadores and the tricky winger can be scintillating to watch. He also has 24 senior appearances for the club’s first team under his belt. Alongside him, 20-year-old forward, Óscar Cruz, who has three goals and one assist in four games is another one to keep an eye on though he would struggle to attain a work permit as he is yet to play for the club’s first team. The trio is completed by exciting 18-year-old winger, Santiago Díaz, who has mainly played off the bench but is working in an age group above his peers and has already scored a goal for the U20 side.
Staying in Uruguay, the country’s U20 captain, Fabricio Díaz, is one of the most exciting youngsters still playing in his native homeland. At 19 years of age, Díaz has already amassed 86 appearances for Liverpool FC Montevideo where he has even captained the side despite his tender age. One of the most alluring factors about him is that he plays in the holding midfield position where Liverpool lack depth at the moment. Given his experience and exciting potential, he should definitely be a player on Liverpool’s radar and there is no doubt the 19-year-old would relish the opportunity of making the move from one Liverpool to the other.
On the flanks, fellow Uruguay U20 international, Joaquín Lavega, was born in just 2005 but he already has three goal contributions at first team level for River Plate in just 224 minutes of action averaging 1.2 goal contributions per 90 in his first eight appearances for the club. A quick and pacey winger, Lavega is certainly one to watch given his age and his output so far.
2004-born Renzo Sánchez is another rapid and highly-rated winger who plays for Luis Suárez’s Nacional. Unfortunately, he has been suffering with an injury during the beginning of the season, but he caught the eye in pre-season scoring for the club in a couple of cameo appearances and he is well worth keeping an eye on.
Moving across to Luis Díaz’s Colombia, 21-year-old Fabián Ángel has followed a similar path to the Liverpool winger making his debut in senior football at Barranquilla F.C. before moving to Atlético Junior just like Díaz had done in his formative years. Ángel is a tenacious central midfielder with a high-intensity work rate and exemplary technical ability. He is slightly older than the previous names on this list, but he could still be an interesting bargain option for Liverpool.
Fellow compatriot, Alexis Manyoma, recently caught the eye at the Toulon U20 tournament in France scoring twice in four games and the 19-year-old midfielder has had an impressive break-out campaign in the Colombian top flight making four goal contributions in 32 appearances. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Luna who has three goals in 10 games for Deportivo Cali in the league and is capable of playing as a midfielder and a winger is also another one who could end up on the club’s radar.
As the past six months have proven at Anfield, there is a lot of under-the-radar gems to find in the South American market, and with Brexit regulations enabling Liverpool to explore and attain players from the region, FSG should look to be more proactive in the market. Whether that will see the club make an approach for one of the above-mentioned players, only time will tell.
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