In a football world filled with countless stars of today, so many of us are curious about who is waiting in the wings. That search for that next wonderkid; a youngster that has the potential to make us stand up and marvel at how they are masters of their craft despite their tender age, is always on the minds of millions of fans around the world.
With this in mind, we at 101 Great Goals will be bringing you another weekly series taking a look at players across the world that are 21-years-old or younger. Some of them you will have no doubt heard of, while we hope to bring you a few new names to spark your curiosities every now and then.
Name: Fábio Carvalho
Position: Attacking Midfield
Place of Birth: Torres Vedras, Portugal
National team caps: 0 (capped at U21 level)
Current club: Fulham FC
Current Market Value (per Transfermarkt): €3.5-million
Potential suitor(s): Liverpool
“He’s pretty sensational. He’s the player we’ll look back on and think it was pretty crazy that he ever played in any second tier. He reminds me a bit of Emile Smith Rowe. Carvalho is more about pure efficiency; doing the smartest thing at any given moment. It’s more about the speed of thought and the combination play.” Note: quote via Scouted Football citing Championship pundit Ali Maxwell (Sky & the Athletic).
Fulham has developed a few gifted youngsters in recent years, with names like Ryan Sessegnon and current Liverpool prodigy Harvey Elliot ahead of the class. But Portuguese U21 international Fábio Carvalho could truly be the best of the lot after the Cottagers academy graduate took the Championship by storm this season.
At the time of writing, Carvalho has completed his first full season in the Fulham first team while helping the capital side blitz over 100-goals as they topped the English second division and earned their way back to the Premier League. The Portuguese youth international was at the center of it all for Fulham as well, bagging 10-goals and adding a further 8-assists in 36-appearances while also finding the back of the net in Fulham’s 4-1 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup fourth round.
A look at the deal that will see Fabio Carvalho become a Liverpool player. A rebuilding of bridges with Fulham was key. Personal terms agreed and medical completed after meeting Jurgen Klopp at the AXA Centre. FSG president Mike Gordon also involved.https://t.co/vvMuwbjk8P
— Paul Gorst (@ptgorst) May 4, 2022
Already hitting City for a goal will undoubtedly go down well with Liverpool fans after every leading indicator shows that Carvalho is Anfield-bound this summer after reports suggest the club will announce the signing in the near future.
Cottagers boss Marco Silva himself confirmed that he arrived at the club too late to influence the youngster in staying another season at Craven Cottage, but could not speak highly enough regarding the wealth of talent that he possesses despite his age.
“I think he has a brilliant career in front of him. He is a top, top talent in my opinion. Unfortunately for me, I probably arrived a little bit late at this football club. With more time, he would have renewed his contract before. Definitely.”
Still capable of being molded how Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp sees fit given the profile of player Carvalho is, there is some discussion regarding just where the Portuguese U21 star will slot in once he presumably arrives on Merseyside in a matter of weeks.
With the Reds set to lose Divock Origi in the summer, that leaves just Brazilian international Roberto Firmino as the only player who truly can play the false nine role in an ideal scenario. Yes, Diogo Jota, Mohammed Salah, and Sadio Mané have all been deployed in that capacity at some stage over the last few seasons, but none has been able to perfectly replicate what Firmino brings to the table for no other reason than the similarity that exists between the Brazilian and Portuguese; both are/were 10’s.
During his successful spell at Bundesliga outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Firmino shone in Sinsheim as a central attacking midfielder; a role that very closely mirrors the tasking of a false nine. In that light, it was far easier for the Brazilian international to adjust his role at Liverpool given the tactical demands that Klopp set to instill at Anfield. Could Carvalho be on the same potential pathway and thus making the business to secure his services all the more clear?
With Salah and Mané the undisputed flanking pair at the club, while Jota, Elliot, and Luis Díaz all plying their trade on the flanks as well while still being on the younger end of the spectrum, logic dictates that Carvalho would not have been purchased to usurp them from their role in the team, but rather, be deployed elsewhere altogether.
Regardless of his age, Fábio Carvalho could be in line for considerable minutes next season at Liverpool and that by itself is encouraging for club supporters in all corners of the world. Though the club is the chief contender against Manchester City’s growing hegemony in England, they still maintain a policy of smart spending that can tackle the demands of both the present as well as the future.
Fábio Carvalho will undoubtedly be a key piece in that future.
If you missed last week’s installment, check out Ones to Watch; Pablo Torre