Barcelona are stepping up their efforts to sign Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaense in the summer and have already opened initial negotiations with the Brazilian club, according to Joaquim Piera of SPORT.
The 17-year-old Brazilian has been likened to former Barcelona striker and club legend Luis Suarez by the club coaches due to his predatory instincts in the box and mentality.
And the Blaugrana have made him one of their top targets for the summer window as they look to sign the teenager to provide cover for Robert Lewandowski and eventually replace him as the first-choice striker at Camp Nou.
It had been previously reported that Barcelona were already planning to make the signing of Roque in the summer financially viable for the club.
Now, it is being claimed that the La Liga leaders have already made their first move by establishing contact with Athletico Paranaense over a possible move in the summer.
As per the report, Barça have made contact with the Brazilian club’s football co-ordination Luiz Felipe Scolari as well as their CEO Alexandre Mattos.
These contacts are seen as a declaration of the Blaugrana’s interest in securing the young jewel’s services before next season.
The motive behind initiating negotiations is to create a favourable environment in which talks can be carried out while also laying the groundwork for the move, keeping in mind the Catalans’ Financial Fair Play issues.
On top of that, Barcelona also want to take the lead in pursuit of the precocious talent, who is also on the radars of clubs like Chelsea, PSG, and West Ham United.
The technical secretariat see Roque as an option to fill the void left by Memphis Depay’s exit last month, while he can continue learning from one of the best in the game in Lewandowski.
Roque impressed for Athletico Paranaense at the Copa Libertadores last season and has been starring for the Brazil U-20 side at the South American U-20 Championship currently.
The striker is believed to be keen on making the jump to Barcelona in the summer, while his agent, Andre Cury, a former Barça employee, also wants the youngster to move to Camp Nou.
With Xavi Hernandez’s side making the first move, things could start heating up over the coming weeks. Vitor Roque will turn 18 later this month and will be eligible to move to Europe in the summer. And Barcelona could be his destination.