Manchester United are linked with a move for Thiao Maia. The Daily Express claims the Red Devils sent scouts to South America to monitor the £20m rated Santos star.
While Maia is creating waves in Brazil, the 19-year-old is relatively unknown in England.
Here are some facts that will help many become a bit more familiar of this prodigious young talent.
Maia is a midfield destroyer similar to Fernando Redondo
The Brazilian player caught the eyes of top European teams due to his fantastic flair in attack but Thiago Maia is a different breed of talent. Maia is a defensive midfielder, known for his excellent reading of the game as well as tackling abilities, and the teenager has already drawn comparisons with Argentine legend Fernando Redondo due to his playing style.
The midfielder is a key figure for club side Santos
Maia currently plys his trade for Brazilian giants Santos and has already managed to establish himself as a key figure after making his debut back in October 2014. The midfielder helped Santos claim the Campeonato Paulista this year and as a mark of his fine contribution, was also included in the Campeonato Paulista Team of the year.
Maia was the second youngest player in the victorious 2016 Brazilian Olympic team
Thiago Maia was a key player in the Brazilian Olympic Team which won Gold in Rio for the first time in their history. Despite being the second youngest player in the squad, the teenager was not fazed at all.
Coming from a poor background, Maia endured a lot of struggles early on in his career. Rejected by Corinthians, the midfielder earned a place in Santos’ academy. The midfielder recently revealed that he had to sleep on a punctured mattress with friends. He also regularly ate burnt rice and sausages as he did not have enough money to buy better food.
Maia is the first Brazilian athlete from Roraima – in any sport
Hailing from Brazil’s northernmost Roraima region, Maia is the first professional sportsperson to emerge from the area.