Roberto Firmino – Hoffenheim’s Latest Brazilian Export

Roberto Firmino – Hoffenheim’s Latest Brazilian Export

Someone had to step up, and perhaps it was fitting that it was Brazil’s number 11 Roberto Firmino who scored Brazil’s second goal Sunday night in a 2-1 win against Venezuela. Firmino’s goal made it 2-0 and ensured that the Seleção would qualify for the quarterfinal of this year’s Copa América. Firmino is expected to be the creative centre point of Brazil’s game, especially with Neymar missing for the remainder of this year’s Copa due to the four-match suspension that he picked up after verbally attacking a referee in Brazil’s second group game against Colombia. The 23-year-old Firmino, who plays in Germany for 1899 Hoffenheim, is one of the hottest commodities of this summer’s transfer window. Valued at €25 million Firmino is an extremely flexible attacking player, who can be employed at the wings as an attacking centre-midfielder, and who has also played as a striker. The football statistics page Whoscored.com, however, shows that Firmino is most effective as an attacking centre-midfielder where he plays as a traditional number 10. Firmino had a productive 2014-15 Bundesliga season where he scored 7 goals, and 10 assists in 33 games with a player rating of 7.79. In the fall and the early spring Firmino was considered one of the brightest rising stars of the Bundesliga. He struggled toward the end of the season, however, when Hoffenheim once again failed to qualify for European football, by finishing the season in eighth place, one place below the coveted Europa League qualification spot. With Hoffenheim out of the Europa League it became apparent that it would not be able to keep Firmino at the club. In fact it has always been part of Hoffenheim’s strategy to buy promising young Brazilians in order to sell them at a profit. The club has done this previously with Carlos Eduardo who was bought from Grêmio Porto Alegre in 2007 for €7 million, and then sold to Rubin Kazan in 2010 for €20 million. Another example is Luiz Gustavo, who was bought by Hoffenheim for €1 million from Corinthians Alagoano, and was later sold to Bayern Munich for €17 million. Firmino, who was bought by Hoffenheim from Figueirense FC for €4 million, is rumoured to be in talks with several clubs from the English Premier League. For a long time Manchester United seemed to be the most likely candidate to secure Firmino’s signature. The latest reports from Brazil, however, indicate that FC Liverpool is now the favourite to sign the young Brazilian. Globo Esporte reports that Liverpool is willing to pay at least €25 million, and that Firmino is ready to sign a five-year contract. Hoffenheim has indicated that it is hoping to generate in the region of €30 million from Firmino’s sale, a staggering profit considering how much they paid for him in the first place. Finally, Hoffenheim has already brought in Firmino’s replacement by purchasing Joelinton from Sport Club do Recife for €1.25 million. Joelinton has already indicated that he wants to follow in Firmino’s footsteps, and if successful Joelinton will be the next player in Hoffenheim’s Brazilian player pipeline. By Manuel Veth -

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Someone had to step up, and perhaps it was fitting that it was Brazil’s number 11 Roberto Firmino who scored Brazil’s second goal Sunday night in a 2-1 win against Venezuela. Firmino’s goal made it 2-0 and ensured that the Seleção would qualify for the quarterfinal of this year’s Copa América.

Firmino is expected to be the creative centre point of Brazil’s game, especially with Neymar missing for the remainder of this year’s Copa due to the four-match suspension that he picked up after verbally attacking a referee in Brazil’s second group game against Colombia.

The 23-year-old Firmino, who plays in Germany for 1899 Hoffenheim, is one of the hottest commodities of this summer’s transfer window. Valued at €25 million Firmino is an extremely flexible attacking player, who can be employed at the wings as an attacking centre-midfielder, and who has also played as a striker.

The football statistics page Whoscored.com, however, shows that Firmino is most effective as an attacking centre-midfielder where he plays as a traditional number 10. Firmino had a productive 2014-15 Bundesliga season where he scored 7 goals, and 10 assists in 33 games with a player rating of 7.79.

In the fall and the early spring Firmino was considered one of the brightest rising stars of the Bundesliga. He struggled toward the end of the season, however, when Hoffenheim once again failed to qualify for European football, by finishing the season in eighth place, one place below the coveted Europa League qualification spot.

With Hoffenheim out of the Europa League it became apparent that it would not be able to keep Firmino at the club. In fact it has always been part of Hoffenheim’s strategy to buy promising young Brazilians in order to sell them at a profit.

The club has done this previously with Carlos Eduardo who was bought from Grêmio Porto Alegre in 2007 for €7 million, and then sold to Rubin Kazan in 2010 for €20 million. Another example is Luiz Gustavo, who was bought by Hoffenheim for €1 million from Corinthians Alagoano, and was later sold to Bayern Munich for €17 million.

Firmino, who was bought by Hoffenheim from Figueirense FC for €4 million, is rumoured to be in talks with several clubs from the English Premier League. For a long time Manchester United seemed to be the most likely candidate to secure Firmino’s signature.

The latest reports from Brazil, however, indicate that FC Liverpool is now the favourite to sign the young Brazilian. Globo Esporte reports that Liverpool is willing to pay at least €25 million, and that Firmino is ready to sign a five-year contract.

Hoffenheim has indicated that it is hoping to generate in the region of €30 million from Firmino’s sale, a staggering profit considering how much they paid for him in the first place.

Finally, Hoffenheim has already brought in Firmino’s replacement by purchasing Joelinton from Sport Club do Recife for €1.25 million. Joelinton has already indicated that he wants to follow in Firmino’s footsteps, and if successful Joelinton will be the next player in Hoffenheim’s Brazilian player pipeline.

By Manuel Veth –

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