Vinicius Junior made headlines all over the footballing world in 2017 – 17 years old, signed by Real Madrid for a staggering £38 m. A truly ridiculous sum of money for a teenager. But if nothing else, it was a testament to the sheer talent of the Brazilian. After four goals and three assists in just 12 games for Flamengo in his last season, Vinicius arrived at Los Blancos in 2018. His first season was promising with flair, excitement and impressive performances as he managed to net seven goals and 13 assists across all competitions.
But 2019/20 has been challenging for the attacker. The promise and excitement around the Brazilian international has been overshadowed by his national compatriot Rodrygo. His hat trick in the Champions League and regular appearances under Zinedine Zidane have meant Vinicius has struggled to break back into the Madrid first team.
With the plethora of quality in the wide areas the side has, perhaps the now 19-year-old needs to leave the Bernabeu to gets some minutes under his belt? Maybe so. Regardless of any struggles, his quality remains evident and Madrid would be wise to consider loaning him out rather than bulging to interest from a host of clubs.
Anyone with a good football eye can see Vinicius has massive potential so it’s not surprising to see El Desmarque’s Jorge Santos report that Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham (Jose Mourinho alert), and Wolves are all interested in Vinicius.
The upright posture on the ball lends Vinicius a certain unpredictability in his movement. A headache for defenders. What gives him that further edge over other wide players is his confidence; losing the ball does not shake him.
Similar to Wilfried Zaha in that aspect and despite only averaging two dribbles in La Liga this season (WhoScored), he is capable of a more dynamic and direct approach should Zidane allow it.
In truth, Madrid should have no real interest in selling Vinicius, no matter what the rumour mill says. 19-year-olds with successful Champions League appearances and regular minutes at Real Madrid – and Ballon d’Or potential – are extremely expensive. And clubs like Real don’t sell top young players who are consistently producing or at least they shouldn’t do as much.
If Vinicius ends up leaving Real, there is only one destination that seems realistic. And it’s a club with even deeper pocketbooks than the Premier League sides.
PSG have Kylian Mbappe, who is an even more talented young prospect on Real Madrid’s radar. They reportedly want and value Vinicius highly, so if Madrid are to consider any move for the 19-year-old Brazilian, it should be his involvement in a Mbappe swap deal.
Moreover, that swap would only happen if PSG play hardball and specifically ask for cash plus Vinicius from Los Blancos.
There is plenty of time for Vinicius to develop and, given adequate playing time, we are sure to see him reach the pinnacle of football sooner rather than later.
Whether or not this comes soon enough is a question for another day. One thing remains very clear and evident and it’s the fact that except if Real Madrid are getting someone better (Mbappe), Vinicius would be better off as a future prospect for the club.