The day of Gabriel Barbosa’s return draws closer: he should be back in Milan in January. In one and half years of loans, Inter fans had almost forgotten the great disappointment of his first and only season in Milan. Now, though, discussions of his true quality and and potential are returning with him, among with transfer rumours regarding his future.
Gabigol’s loan spells at Benfica and Santos seem not to have changed the club’s view of him. That is, him being excluded from Inter’s future projects. If anything, the last 18 months have reinforced the idea that Barbosa can’t replicate his impressive Brasileirao statistics in Europe. Still, his renewed success at Santos has been effective in making him somewhat attractive in the transfer market, particularly in Brazil.
Barbosa’s apparent personal preference for his home country’s football also bolsters the likelihood of a move to another Brazilian club. In an Interview with Esporte Espetacular he didn’t rule off the possibility, stressing how he “wanted to go somewhere where he could be happy and play regularly”.
Inter’s interests, though, may not go in the same direction, mainly because of Brazilian clubs’ limited finances compared to their European counterparts. In fact, even though amortisation has reduced Gabigol’s weight on Inter’s books, the club would still prefer to sell him for at least 20 million euros to avoid a loss, an amount that Brazilian clubs would be unlikely to pay. Even if he was to leave on loan, a European destination would be preferable as it could make him more attractive to European clubs for purchase.
The solution that could satisfy both parties is an exchange deal involving another promising young Brazilian. In fact, according to O Globo, Flamengo is determined to sign Barbosa and is ready to sacrifice its 18 year-old talent Lincoln to get him. A high valuation of both players by their respective buyers could allow Inter to avoid a loss and sign an interesting prospect, Flamengo to afford their target and Gabigol himself to play where he prefers. The potential involvement of Miranda in the deal is also mentioned: the veteran and the youngster could exchange places next summer, with the former freeing up an extra-EU spot at Inter for the latter.
Sources: Esporte Espetacular, O Globo