An eighteen-year-old central midfielder born in Guatemala but of Brazilian and more recently, Portuguese citizenship. Marcelo Andres Valencia Saraiva today signs for Nottingham Forest where he’ll be part of the clubs under 23’s following his move from the youth team of Sport Club Internacional.
The Brazilian top-flight team based in Porto Alegre, once included the likes of Falcao, Taffarel and Alexandre Pato and is one of only three teams outside of Europe to win the FIFA club world cup this century.
So how has a teenager at an under 20 southern hemisphere side from halfway across the world ended up signing for Nottingham Forest? The players agent, Stellar Football Ltd, might have had something to do with it?
Responsible for the likes of Saul Niguez, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Gareth Bale and Patrick Bamford amongst many others, the agent has lined up a move for this diminutive right-footed midfielder who has an eye for a pass, is not afraid to get stuck in, and can deliver a deadly finish or assist from a free kick or set play situation.
Saraiva picks pockets of positions on the field well, is always keen to get on the ball, can play in tight areas and can control games from deep whilst arriving late to pick up the odd goal. Out of possession he works hard and closes down well, often close to the play. Reminiscent of a young Paul Scholes in the early days of his Manchester United career, Saraiva is an intelligent footballer that has good all-round attributes to his game.
Who’s to say the son of a former Brazilian footballer can’t progress in England to do well? Having played recently in the 2019 CONCACAF under-17 championships for Guatemala before winning his first of two full national team caps (including a yellow card on his debut), the player was last year voted amongst Inter fans as their most promising youngster.
Whilst tagging the player as the next Paul Scholes or Alexandre Pato might seem a little premature, the excitement at least for Nottingham Forest fans is that they have signed a player who has the tenacity and attributes similar to those mentioned, who has good pedigree and is from a club that is famous for being at the top of the game in one of the leading football playing countries on the planet.
The next phase of Marcelo’s development will be a very interesting one to say the least. If he can settle in Nottingham and start to enjoy football in England, who knows what he can go on to achieve?
*Main image @NFFC Marcelo Andres joins Nottingham Forest until June 2022.