Three players Liverpool could look to sign directly from South America this summer

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FSG moving closer to South America?

Recently, there have been rumors of FSG investing in Vasco da Gama in Brazil as part of their plans to create a multi-club model. Those are only rumors at the moment, but it’s safe to assume Liverpool’s strategy in the coming years will focus on attracting South American talent. With the appointment of Pedro Marques and Julian Ward, FSG have brought in two people who are very familiar with the South American market.

On top of that, it’s no secret Liverpool have always had a strong scouting presence in South America. The likes of Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz have been followed since their days playing in Uruguay and Colombia, respectively. The club also tried to sign Rodrygo while he was playing for Santos, and there was a strong interest in Andre from Fluminense last summer. Ahead of the summer window for Anfield Index, I’ve decided to take a look at three potential players who could be on FSG’s radar.

Wesley Gassova: The Next Brazilian Sensation

One of the most exciting players to have emerged from Brazil this year is Wesley Gassova. He’s a right-footed left-winger, and he is full of flair and energy. The kind of player that gets you on the edge of your seat. The way he runs up and down the pitch is reminiscent of Luis Diaz at his best. The comparison is especially adept since in South America’s top five leagues this season, no one has averaged more dribbles (13.86 per 90) than Gassova. Like Diaz, Gassova is difficult to stop as well. He completes 52.5% of his dribbles, which averages out to around 7 successful dribbles attempts per game.

Estadio Jose Alvalade Wesley Gassova of Corinthians celebrates after scoring a goal during the game between Cianorte and Corinthians in the 1st round of the Copa do Brasil, this Thursday 22, held at the Willie Davids Stadium, in Maringa/PR, Brazil 8147 / SPP PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRAxMEX Copyright: x8147x/xSPPx spp-en-8-danilofernandes230224_563

On the surface, some might say he needs to polish his output. He has scored just four goals for Corinthians in 2024 this season in 1358 minutes according to Wyscout. That’s a goal every 339 minutes – which is nowhere near the standard of elite attackers. However, below the surface, his finishing is actually quite good. Gassova has scored his 4 goals from just 26 shots in total and has a goal conversion rate of over 15%, which is relatively decent for a young winger.

It’s important to note Gassova’s output will also suffer because he plays for a relatively weak side in Corinthians who are fighting for relegation in Brazil. Overall, the 18-year-old has shown great potential and he could definitely be on Liverpool’s list.

Ezequiel Fernandez: The Midfield Dynamo

Liverpool are definitely on the hunt for a defensive midfielder this summer and Ezequiel Fernandez of Boca Juniors could be a smart option. The 21-year-old is a robust and agile midfielder who is full of energy and has brilliant technical ability as well. Fernandez plays a key role in progressing the ball forward from deep for Boca Juniors. Out of U21 midfielders in South America’s top five leagues, no one makes more forward passes per 90 minutes than him this season (17.1 per 90). He also makes the most passes to the final third (8.74 per 90). This is something that a holding midfielder will be required to do in Arne Slot’s system at Anfield next season.

Boca Juniors v San Lorenzo – Copa de la Liga Profesional 2024 in Buenos Aires, Argentina – 30 Mar 2024 Ezequiel Fernández of Boca Juniors drives the ball during a group B match between Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo at Estadio Alberto J. Armando. Final Score: Boca Juniors 2 – 1 San Lorenzo Buenos Aires Argentina Copyright: xManuelxCortinax/xSOPAxImagesx BOCASANLO17

But away from possession, Fernandez also stands out among his age and positional peers in his defensive actions as well. He reads the game really well and is also very strong in one vs one duels. Out of U21 midfielders who average at least nine defensive duels per 90, Fernandez ranks third for success rate with 64.4%. He also ranks second for possession-adjusted interceptions (7.6 per 90). There’s a picture of him floating around on social media in a Liverpool shirt and the Reds have been linked with him in the past. For the right price, he could be a really smart buy.

Damian Pizarro: The Chilean Goal Machine

With Arne Slot coming into Liverpool, it would not be a surprise to see more traditional number nines coming into the club in the next few years. Slot has always preferred those kinds of profiles as opposed to Jurgen Klopp, who often used false nines at Liverpool. One young player who ticks those boxes completely in South America at the moment is Chilean Damian Pizarro. The 19-year-old is relatively tall at 1.87 meters and already quite strong. He’s on a purple patch at the moment, having scored five goals in his last three league matches. In total, he has 19 goal contributions in 55 appearances for his club side Colo-Colo.

Futbol, Audax Italiano vs Colo Colo. Fecha 12, campeonato Nacional 2024. El jugador de Colo Colo Damian Pizarro celebra su gol contra Audax Italiano durante el partido de primera division disputado en el estadio Bicentenario La Florida, en Santiago, Chile. 12/05/2024 Dragomir Yankovic/Photosport Football, Audax Italiano vs Colo Colo. 12th turn, 2024 National Championship. Colo ColoÕs player Damian Pizarro celebrates after scoring against Audax Italiano during the first division match held at the Bicentenario La Florida stadium in Santiago, Chile. 12/05/2024 Dragomir Yankovic/Photosport Audax Italiano vs Colo Colo, campeonato 2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxCHI

Pizarro is fast and loves to run in behind defenses. He also makes really good runs inside the box and has a typical striker’s instinct. Out of U21 South American players, no one takes more touches inside the opposition’s penalty area than Pizarro this season (4.06 per 90). Pizarro also ranks in the top five players for goal conversion alongside the likes of Endrick (23.4%), who is Real Madrid bound, with 18.18%.

There are areas of his game that he could still improve, but technically he’s already very gifted. He’s not afraid to run the channel and takes players on averaging 6.01 dribbles per 90. Defensively, he could do more work to track back and win more duels (he wins just 44% of his 3.79 defensive duels per 90), but that is normal for a striker who is still relatively young and honing his game. Overall, there is a lot of potential in Pizarro and he could be another player who could fit perfectly into Slot’s new system at Liverpool, and FSG’s new era – where more South American talent is brought to Anfield.

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