Injury delayed the Brazilian Wonder Kids’ debut but did not dampen the excitement in South London
Matheus Franca and his reps visited with many European teams in both January and the summer.
Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Newcastle, and even Arsenal allegedly put in a £15 million proposal, but the highly sought-after kid was most taken aback by Crystal Palace’s offer. The young player was persuaded by the Eagles’ pitch that Selhurst Park would be the perfect place for him to advance his burgeoning career.
Flamengo, the most prestigious club in Brazil, lost Franca to a five-year, £26 million agreement with Palace. He expressed his enthusiasm for his debut on August 5. Yet that game has still not been delivered 74 days later.
However, there is now hope that Franca’s rehabilitation from a lower back injury is nearing completion and that his first Premier League playing minutes are only a matter of weeks away. Eagles fans will soon get their first look at one of the team’s most intriguing recent acquisitions.
The adaptable attacker saw action on both wings, the right flank, as an attacking midfielder, and even as the only striker during his tenure in Brazil. He comes to the Palace almost unfinished.
Expert on South American football Nathan Joyes claims that “He can be molded into whatever Palace want him to be.” The best trait he has for the squad is his work ethic, thus he will probably win over the supporters.
The six-foot-tall adolescent possesses a terrifying shot and performs best when using his close control to get out of confined situations. However, Mario Marra of ESPN Brazil informs Standard Sport that “His defensive work is a positive point” is not the case. “He is focused on getting the ball back and applying pressure to his opponents.
Flamengo has always played in the attacking third, therefore he now has to compete hard with opponents for the ball. Palace will develop and be a great aid if given enough time and patience.
The chaotic period at Flamengo, when Franca played under three coaches and one was fired for hitting a player in the face, did not help the 19-year-old’s growth during the previous year.
Franca flourished on the left under Dorival Junior, outwitting opponents and demonstrating his talent to have a successful time in front of goal.
Vitor Pereira and Jorge Sampaoli had more difficulty getting game time. If Franca, who may drift in and out of games, had not produced the offensive goods by the hour mark, Flamengo’s fervent, unforgiving supporters would become agitated.
Palace supporters will be more kind to Franca since she is a long-term investment. To help him adjust to his new environment, the medical professionals at Palace have him on a new exercise regimen and he has been receiving personalized English lessons.
The previous month would have been the best time for Franca to be healthy and active given the injury issue that has left Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, and Naouirou Ahamada all sidelined.
But now, Palace will get a chance to witness their new acquisition in person. It may be the good news Roy Hodgson has been hoping for that he has recovered from his injury.