At the end of February, the former Shakhtar midfielder Brazilian Marlos, who even managed to acquire Ukrainian citizenship and play a number of matches for the Blue-and-Yellows, said that he had never believed in the Pitmen’s ability to manage without Brazilians in the squad. But after the start of the full-scale phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Donetsk club really had to go through significant personnel perturbations in order to maintain the opportunity to compete not only within the Ukrainian Premier League, but also in European competitions. This led to the minimization of legionnaires in the line-up, and its maximum saturation with Ukrainian performers.
One of those who took advantage of the outflow of Brazilians from Shakhtar was left winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The midfielder showed himself very brightly, including in the group stage of the current Champions League, and in January 2023 he moved to Chelsea for 70 million euros.
However, after Mudryk’s departure from Shakhtar, Igor Jovicevich still cannot find another Ukrainian performer who would be able to perform the required amount of work on the pitch, which would be maximally combined with the tactical ideas of the coaching staff. Georgy Sudakov and Dmitry Kryskiv are, of course, very talented, but the position of the left winger in its modern sense is not “native” and familiar to both.
Obviously, this is why Shakhtar have been very active in the market in recent months, trying to find a player who, in terms of his potential and abilities, can be a replacement for Mudrik. The Pitmen have already managed to sign 18-year-old Tajik legionnaire Khusrav Toirov, but his prospects in the Ukrainian team are still vague, and therefore the Donetsk club has returned to its favorite and most “plowed” talent market – the Brazilian one.
At the moment, Shakhtar is very carefully studying all the options available on the Brazilian market. Moreover, we are talking about young or even young performers who have not had time to loudly declare themselves at an adult level, and therefore do not yet have a very high transfer value. At least three names of potential Shakhtar recruits have already flashed in the Brazilian press, and it is worth talking about these players in a little more detail…
Age: 20 years
For the first time, information about Shakhtar’s interest in Kevin appeared in early December last year. Then the media reported that the Pitmen offered Palmeiras, with whom the player has a contract, 4 million euros in compensation, but very soon it became clear that this amount was too small to complete the deal. Subsequently, Shakhtar improved the offer three more times (to 5, 10 and 15 million euros), but each time they ran into Palmeiras’ unwillingness to agree to a transfer.
Ultimately, the Pitmen backed down on the idea of signing Kevin during the winter transfer window, preferring to focus on other goals. Already at the end of the winter re-bid campaign, the Donetsk club signed Khusrav Toirov, mentioned above, from which one can conclude that the Tajik legionnaire was not initially a priority figure for Shakhtar, but turned out to be the one who managed to agree.
As for Kevin, this graduate of the Palmeiras Academy managed to make his debut in the Brazilian Serie A at the end of 2021, but since then, having played 2 matches and scored 1 goal, he has not appeared in the adult team again. The left winger, who can also play on the right flank and in the center of attack, spent the entire past calendar year in the youth team of Palmeiras, becoming one of the main stars of the last draw of the so-called Copiña, the Sao Paulo Youth Cup.
It was Palmeiras who became the triumphant of Copinha for the second year in a row, and Kevin turned out to be the best assistant of the tournament (5 assists), and also entered the top three of his top scorers (5 goals), for which he needed to play only 8 matches.
This football player is somewhat reminiscent of the young Willian, but is probably able to boast of even more developed ball handling skills. In addition to tricks, Kevin’s main advantages are, of course, speed, vision of the field and understanding of football. The young footballer has a contract with Palmeiras until June 2026, and it will be very difficult to agree on his transfer to the Pitmen next summer.
Interestingly, the opportunity to complete a deal for Kevin Shakhtar may well present itself. Rumor has it that Palmeiras wants to see the Pitmen’s attacking midfielder Pedrinho, who has a loan agreement with Atlético Mineiro until June 30, in their ranks. Petushki would like to continue cooperation with the player, but cannot satisfy the Pitmen’s requests for a transfer buyout. For Pedrinho, Shakhtar are asking for 20 million euros, and this amount is too much for Atlético Mineiro. Palmeiras is also not ready to pay that kind of money, but allegedly would like to discuss a format in which Kevin will be included in the deal. In this case, the Brazilian club will pay the Ukrainian 10 million euros and transfer part of the economic rights to Kevin, which could be a very profitable investment for the Pitmen.
Age: 18 years
Club: “Vasco da Gama”
Unlike Kevin, Vasco da Gama left winger Eginaldo, who is also actively interested in Shakhtar, already has a good experience of playing at the professional level by the age of 18 (25 matches and 3 goals for the first team).
Eguinaldo only joined Vasco da Gama in January last year, when he was loaned from Rio de Janeiro’s Artsul. Seven months later, the leaders of Vasco agreed to a full buyout of the contract of the young winger for 120 thousand euros, because he turned out to be a very effective performer in the first team, helping her to achieve success in Serie B.
This year, “Vasco da Gama” is preparing to return to Serie A, where the glorious team was absent for the last two draws. It is not surprising that the club is trying to preserve the combat-ready squad as much as possible and, if possible, even strengthen it, although experts still call Vasco da Gama one of the obvious outsiders of the upcoming season.
Probably, Shakhtar tried to take advantage of the last circumstance. The Ukrainian club, as reported by Brazilian insiders, offered 2 million euros for Eginaldo. For this amount, the Pitmen wanted to buy out only 60% of the economic rights to the winger, but even such an option, which allows Vasco da Gama to theoretically count on a very good amount in the further resale of the player, turned out to be uninteresting to the Brazilians.
In Vasco da Gama, Eginaldo is often used as a center forward, and in general this player is not as fast as Kevin. The technique of the Vasco da Gama winger is at a good level, but in general his counterpart from Palmeiras prefers to take the lead much more often.
The strength of Eginaldo’s game is his constant focus on the ball. The football player is not afraid of martial arts, and in the last Serie B draw he had good statistics in this component (won 42% of duels). But in general, this Brazilian is still a very “raw” performer, and so far “Vasco da Gama” does not have a large number of requests from Europe for him. Rumor has it that, along with Shakhtar, the club from Portugal has an interest in Eginaldo, but he, unlike the Pitmen, is ready to talk only about renting, and this does not suit the Brazilians all the more.
Age: 20 years
Getty Images/Global Images Ukraine. John Kennedy
The third option for Shakhtar in the Brazilian market right now is John F. Kennedy, a 20-year-old Fluminense academy graduate. This football player prefers to act as a center forward, although he often turns out to be involved on the flanks of the attack (mainly on the left, since Kennedy is right-handed). Like Eguinaldo, Kennedy has a solid senior record, including 26 appearances (4 goals) in Brazil’s Serie A.
John managed to make his debut for Fluminense in the elite division of Brazilian football back in January 2021, when the striker was only 18 years and 8 months old. Since then, however, Kennedy has failed to become a key player for the Tricolors. Basically, John is used as a rotation player, appearing on the field as a substitute.
Kennedy’s game advantages are a symbiosis of technique, fighting for the ball and aiming at the opponent’s goal. It cannot be said that John is particularly successful in any of these components. For example, in the last Serie A draw, the forward won 34% of martial arts (on average, Kennedy had 29 in 90 minutes), was successful in 45% of dribbles (5.7 on average per match) and hit the target in 36% of cases. goal on shots (3.1 on average per match).
In January of this year, the management of Fluminense decided to loan Kennedy to Ferroviaria from Araraquara, where the striker showed himself superbly in a short time, scoring 6 goals in 11 Paulista League matches. This contributed to John’s quick return to the “tricolor” camp, where he now, perhaps, will get more chances to prove himself already in Serie A.
Good performances for Ferroviaria brought Kennedy to the attention of clubs from Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. Shakhtar also wants to try to sign John in the summer transfer window.
Brazilian journalists report that Fluminense as a whole is not in the mood to build barriers to Kennedy’s departure from the club in the coming months. The Tricolors, on the other hand, are ready for negotiations and do not seem to be averse to taking advantage of the chance to profitably sell their pupil, but they have determined the amount of 5 million euros as a guideline for the deal.
In this case, the fact that the interests of John F. Kennedy is represented by the agency company of Giuliano Bertolucci, who has previously cooperated with the Pitmen on many occasions, including in deals for Bernard, David Neres, Dodo and Pedrinho, can also play in favor of Shakhtar in this case.
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