FC Barcelona could sign Athletico Paranaense prodigy Vitor Roque as the eventual heir to striker Robert Lewandowski, according to reports.
The 17-year-old made his breakthrough in 2022 as he helped his Curitiba club to an unlikely Copa Libertadores final appearance where they were beaten by Sao Paulo giants Palmeiras.
But Roque’s exploits were enough to earn him a call up to Brazil’s U20 squad, for whom he is currently making great waves at the South American championships as the top scorer in the competition with three goals.
Now that Memphis Depay has left the club in a €3mn ($3.25mn) deal to Atletico Madrid in the current January transfer market, Barca are said to be looking for a striker to compliment Lewandowski.
According to SPORT on Thursday morning, this has led them to Roque, who will turn 18 in February and will therefore be able to make the switch to a European club.
The fact that Roque is not yet of adult age, plus Barca’s financial problems, means that the Catalans will not be able to sign him in the ongoing window.
But after receiving very good scouting reports about Roque, who has scored three goals for Brazil including a brace against Peru and a penalty against Argentina in a 3-1 win, ‘Tigrinho’ (the ‘Little Tiger’) is a potential future target for the Catalans.
Roque is a versatile player able to play as a center forward or on either wing with a very advanced tactical understanding of the game for his age.
In just seven months with his club, he scored seven goals and provided three assists in 36 matches across the Brasileirao national league and continental Libertadores competition while nailing down a starting place in the team despite his tender years.
Barca are reportedly convinced that Roque is the more complete forward than Palmeiras sensation Endrick, who bitter rivals Real Madrid signed in December in a deal that could reach as high as €72mn ($78.5mn).
Furthermore, Roque can be signed for less than half of this amount at €30mn and Atheltico would accept three installments of €10mn ($10.9mn) per season which would greatly help Barca in their current financial predicament.
For this price, it is worth taking a punt on Roque – especially considering that Barca squandered four times the fee and more on misfits such as Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho in the past.
Granted those were already established stars, but the Blaugrana simply cannot let another Brazilian promise slip through their fingers as they did with Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and now Endrick who all agreed terms with arch enemies Madrid.
Should Roque not progress as planned, there would still be a market for him in the Premier
League were €30mn ($32.7mn) in pocket change.