After talks with Newcastle, the director admits that the £35 million West Ham target ‘will be sold.’

Athletico Paranaense is likely to cash in on £35 million wonderkid Vitor Roque with Premier League duo Newcastle United and West Ham keen on the so-called ‘new Ronaldo’, technical director Luiz Felipe Scolari tells Globo Esporte.

The likes of Fernandinho, Renan Lodi, and Bruno Guimaraes all departed the Arena da Baixada for considerable sums but Roque, while still a month away from his 18th birthday, could soon become the most expensive export in Athletico’s near-100-year history.

Roque’s speed, drive, and fearsome finishing ability have led to comparisons with 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldo; O Fenomeno himself insisted that the Brazil U20 international has everything in his power to follow in his golden footsteps.

“He’s going to fly so high,” Ronaldo predicted of Vitor Roque in 2022.

Ronaldo arrived in Europe as a baby-faced adolescent nearly 30 years ago. And, with PSG, Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid all in contact with his representatives, Roque could be in for a surprise on his 18th birthday.

“Vitor will most likely be sold,” says Scolari, Ronaldo’s former national team coach.

“He’s 17 years old and still has a lot to learn on the field. But he’s been in the Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores since he was 16 years old. He’s a 17-year-old with the intellect and experience of a 24 or 25-year-old.

“He’s prepared. I believe we will sell when (a club) has enough money.”

Saudi-backed Newcastle United has also held preliminary talks with Roque’s camp. After losing Endrick de Sousa, Maximo Perrone, and Andrey Santos to Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Chelsea, the Magpies are scouring South America for the game’s next generation of superstars. They are hoping to sign Roque.

West Ham, according to Brazilian journalist Vene Casagrande, wants Roque on loan with an option to buy. Athletico Paranaense’s £35 million asking price, on the other hand, maybe a little rich for the Hammers’ blood.

“I am of the opinion that we must sell our players. “If we have the option to sell, we sell,” Scolari adds. “Let’s invest, buy others, and find someone good to sign with.

“We are a sales organization. (We want) a large sum of money.”

Vitor Roque scored five goals in 29 games during his first season in the Premier League in 2022.


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