From the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro to wet and cold Huddersfield... Will Town pull off the signing of Brazilian wonderkid Lincoln?

Town have been linked with a wide variety of players in the past 36 months, Andre Silva, Adama Traore, Alphonso Davies and David Nugent, but possibly the most bizarre of all is 20-year-old Brazilian striker Lincoln. Having been tracked by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United two years ago, how come Town are suddenly interested in the wonderkid?

Who is he?

Lincoln is a 20-year-old Brazilian forward for Flamengo. He has represented Brazil at U-17 and U-20 level, scoring 9 in 18 for the 17s and 4 in 11 for the 20s. He made his first-team debut at Flamengo as a 16-year-old in November 2017 and was compared with Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski as European giants came lurking for his services. He has 6 goals and 3 assists in 49 appearances, although most of his appearances have been substitute appearances.

Why is he available?

Lincoln has fallen out with the fans and management at Flamengo, with the strained relationship starting in the 2019 Club World Cup Final, when he missed a chance in the 118th minute to equalise against Liverpool, he then missed a goal winning clear cut chance against Atlético-Go in November 2020 and then didn't feature again for the Rio de Janeiro outfit in the league. Lincoln had loan offers in the summer, but none were deemed suitable by the board, but the board now want rid after these events and he has been ordered to train with the youth team.

Why is Town scouting in Brazil?

Post Brexit rules which come into effect on January 1st mean that signing overseas players become a bit more tricky. Players get points based on international appearances, wage, transfer fee, number of games played in the past 12 months and appearances in continental competitions - Copa Libertadores appearances are highly valued in the new system. The new points system is none discriminatory between EU and Non-EU players and if anything, Non-EU players will benefit from the new system, due to the revision of work permit guidelines. As a result of this, Town will now have to look for overseas players who will tick work permit boxes and with Lincoln having played international and continental football in the past year, it will certainly increase the chances of his work permit being approved.

What type of player is he?

He is a right-footed 6 foot striker or left-winger. This season he has mainly been used a sub and brought on as a striker, but when he has started he has mainly operated as a left-winger, having done so in 3 out of his 4 starts. His 3 goals he scored this year all came from when he started, with most of his substitute appearances not lasting more than 10 minutes. Two of his goal came in the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League equivalent.
Lincoln is a complete forward, he understands and reads his teammates movements well and looks to bring them into the game with his exceptional passing. He brings a physical presence to the forward line and can hold the ball up well. It is not a surprise that Town is interested in him, he likes to press from the front and tackle - which looks like Town are signing him as a replacement for Fraizer Campbell. His ability for finding the back of the net is not in question, he is an accomplished finisher at youth international level and it would be unfair to judge him in his time in the Flamengo first team as the first-choice striker is Gabriel Barbosa (who is the most expensive signing by a Brazilian club in history costing €18.5 million). Lincoln likes to run at defenders and is good at dribbling, although this can lead to him taking quite a lot of shots. Although preferring his right foot, he is also tidy on his left, which is certainly an area where Town need to improve on, with many players being very one-footed in the Town side.

Is the deal possible?

On face value, Town signing a 20-year-old Brazilian, who in the past has been linked with Europe's elite would be impossible, but Flamengo deems him surplus to requirements. Reports in the Brazilian media state that talks between both clubs are ongoing and that Town are proposing an 18-month loan with the option to purchase him at the end of the loan.
Furthermore, given Lincoln's experience in continental competitions, he would fill Carlos' desire for his new additions to have continental competition experience with Danny Ward being his only signing not to have played in a continental competition - even Danny Grant had played in the Europa League.
TransferMarkt value Lincoln at £4.86 million, which may seem high, but it is most likely that the interest from Europe's elite caused his value to be overinflated.

The Verdict

There is no doubt in my mind that signing Lincoln is a real statement of intent and could be one which nets Town a huge transfer fee in the future if he performs well. On the contrary, if it doesn't work out, Town can choose to send him back and therefore it is quite a low-risk signing. My only reservation would be over his attitude, it is not great that at the age of 20, you have annoyed your club that much that they are happy to ship out one of their top prospects. Signing for Huddersfield would be a good thing for him though in my opinion, there is not much for him to do, he can't mess about and it would allow him to focus directly on his football. Adama Traore failed at Aston Villa due to coming over from Barcelona, thinking he was in the big time in the Premier League and was in a huge house and was not focusing on his football. The move to Middlesbrough made him, as the luxuries that surrounded being a footballer was removed and he focussed solely on his football. Hopefully the same will happen for Lincoln at Town as there is doubt that there is a hugely talented footballer here, he just needs the right people around him to unlock it and Carlos Corberan has proved that he can do it with players like Mbenza.

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