For 2022, we have an ambitious plan to turn Red Bull Bragantino into one of the best youth categories in South America. We'll invest a lot in developing the youth team categories so, within a few years, we'll have great players and athletes who've been raised at the club.
Red Bull's South American dream
Sporting Director Thiago Scuro, who has been in the post since 2019, said the club has set itself a target of being the number one home for young players across the continent by 2025, leaning on the talent spotting experience of the RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg clubs.
Bruno Praxedes (pictured) is the jewel in Red Bull Bragantino's crown at present. Indeed, the 19-year-old Brazilian midfielder, signed from Internacional, is among the 10 most highly-valued Under-23s in South America, at €9.52m, according to TransferRoom’s Expected Transfer Value (xTV) calculations.
Scuro will hope the presence of Bull Bragantino, Copa Sudamericana runners-up, in the top 10 will become a regular occurrence over the next few years.
In a recent interview with the Red Bull group, he said: “We drew up a plan in 2019 with the aim of transforming the club on every level by 2025. We had to invest in players, technical staff, technology and equipment to improve the football operation. We're now starting the second phase, which is to invest in infrastructure, to have a training centre that offers the conditions you need to play football at a high level.
“Alongside this, for 2022, we have an ambitious plan to turn Red Bull Bragantino into one of the best youth categories in South America. We'll invest a lot in developing the youth team categories so, within a few years, we'll have great players and athletes who've been raised at the club.
“Our scouts work all around South America looking for a young player with our profile. Today, we have Tomás Cuello who's Argentinian, Jan Hurtado who's Venezuelan, César Haydar who's Colombian, Leo Ralque is Ecuadorian and now Emiliano Martínez, who's Uruguayan.”
Scuro also hopes to keep players in Brazil that little bit longer before they make the inevitable move to Europe.
A report earlier this year by FIFA into 10 years of transfer dealings found that Brazilian players were the most on the move, with over 15,000 moving between clubs in different countries in that timeframe.
Scuro said: “Regardless of the philosophy of any club there's a very strong culture of selling players in South America, especially in Brazil. The players dream of going to a big European club for several reasons, like improving financially, playing for Brazil and playing in the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, Brazil has sold many players at a very early age and they've failed in Europe.
“Our aim is for players to stay longer in Brazil. This is something our football needs to put right. We're trying to make the players, their families and their agents aware that if they have two or three years of success here, they'll be better prepared for the challenges of European football.
“Our biggest challenge though is to replace a top player when they're transferred. Today we're already thinking ahead about future transfers and replacements.”
Palmeiras top xTV standings for young talent
Best in class: Gabriel Veron has the highest xTV among U23s in South America
For now, back-to-back Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras appear to be the top football talent factory on the continent, with three of the 10 most highly-valued U23s by xTV in the Sao Paulo-based club's squad.
Palmeiras' 19-year-old attacker Gabriel Veron is the highest valued U23 in South America, at €15.97m, and one of three players in the €15-20m range, along with the Argentinian pair Julian Alvarez (€15.29m) and Thiago Almada (€15m) of River Plate and Velez Sarsfield, respectively.
All three have been heavily linked with moves to Europe, albeit Almada now seems destined for Major League Soccer.
Those three, along with another Palmeiras player, the 21-year-old midfielder Gabriel Menino (€10.5m), also appear in the top 10 most highly-valued players in South America regardless of age.
Veron is behind only Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa (€25m) and Uruguayan midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta (€17.23m), who both play for Flamengo, in that list.
Patrick de Paula is the final Palmeiras player in the U23 Top 10, with Brazil’s Serie A also represented by Sao Paulo’s Gabriel Sara and Internacional’s Yuri Alberto.
Colon’s Facundo Farias and Independiente’s Alan Velasco are the other players and teams represented from Argentina’s Primera Division.
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