Described by his club president as an equal of Neymar, Gremio’s Luan is battling a race against time in Brazil to be a World Cup wonder
Grêmio attacker Luan Viera has gone a long way over the past twelve months, by cementing himself as arguably the best player in the Brazilian league this season. Many Europeans clubs are interested in signing him, but with less than a year to go for the Russia World Cup, the 24-year old needs to consider all the possibilities, very quickly indeed.
With 13 goals and eight assists in 2017 already, Luan is experiencing the best form of his professional career. Brazil national team manager Tite has admitted in his most recent interview, that if his next Brazil call-up was this month, the versatile attacker would, without hesitation, make his list.
As a matter of fact, Luan’s skill-set allows him to operate in different functions for a team. He can drop deep in order to hold onto the ball, drive it forward and create spaces for his teammates to exploit, or retain possession by shielding the ball it with his body and with his semi-circular movement that usually draws his markers out of their positions. We are talking about a very intelligent player with decent technique, and a very improved end product in the final third. As a matter of fact, the Grêmio striker can play as attacking midfielder, or even as false nine with the freedom to roam.
Rumor has it that traditional English giants Liverpool have expressed interest in signing Luan, but they were but one of many foreign clubs that Grêmio’s high demands have lured away. The club’s president has gone as far as comparing his star to Barcelona forward Neymar, whereas the manager, Renato Gaucho, was more realistic by declaring Luan as the best player in the league this season. This statement could be up for debate, but what is certain is that Luan is at least the most in-form player in the country, for the past few weeks.
Luan is nine years younger, and by all means already a better player than Sport star Diego Souza. Tite has wasted several opportunities to give him his full Brazil debut, instead of handing valuable playing time to an old player who will not be of any benefit to the team in the long term. Adenor Bacchi’s mistake was visible but not irreparable – as there are still a couple of games left before the tournament kicks off in Russia, come next year. Seleção fans will be hoping for a bunch of talented youngsters to get more opportunities instead of players who are edging closer to the end of their career in top flight football.
With Grêmio through to the Libertadores round of 16, all eyes will be set on Luan, ahead of the clash with Argentina’s Godoy Cruz. The rising star has won over Brazilian journalists with his performances against local sides, as well as in the group stage of the continental competition. But can he finally prove that he has reached the ultimate level, by replicating the same level when it matters the most, in the knockout phase of South America’s most prestigious competition? This would, no doubt, be crucial in helping him win a spot in the World Cup squad.