(Photo: Rodrigo Coca/Corinthians)
Defender Rafael Venâncio, treated like a jewel at the base of the Corinthians, arouses interest from European clubs and could leave the Brazilian club in the middle of the year. Without having participated in the Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior, the team was part of the pre-season with the professional group at CT Dr. Joaquim Grava and was involved in Timão’s first two games in the Campeonato Paulista.
Venâncio participated last season for the under-17 team, which became São Paulo champion in the category. The athlete signed his first professional contract with the club in May 2023, valid until April 2026.
The report from Sports Gazette it has emerged that Barcelona and Porto have signaled interest in the left-footed defender. As Venâncio only turns 18 in March, a transfer to the Old Continent would only be viable in the mid-year transfer window.
Deco, a former Brazilian naturalized Portuguese player, is Barcelona’s sporting director and sent a club scout to Brazil to analyze Rafael’s performance. Porto, in turn, is also monitoring the athlete and may move forward with negotiations in the middle of the year. At first, both clubs are watching Venâncio for their respective B teams, something normal in Europe.
The athlete’s staff plan is for him to play as a starter for the Corinthians under-20 team in the first semester. In the mid-year transfer window, his agents will analyze the market and seek to know the Timão board’s plans with him. If the club adopts a cautious tone regarding promotion to a top team, the tendency is for the search for interested European clubs to intensify.
Augusto Melo, president of Corinthians, said on several occasions that he would play hard to negotiate the club’s assets. The agent’s idea is to value, give space to the boys in the professional ranks and sell them for a price he considers fair.
Despite the interest of European teams in his football, Venâncio’s team’s “plan A” is for him to succeed at Corinthians, taking advantage of the sequence of left-handed defenders revealed by the club, such as Raul Gustavo, Robert Renan and Murillo.
Until the end of 2022, Venâncio played for Timão as a left midfielder. The person who took him to the defense was Vinicius Marques, who was his coach at under-16 level and, more recently, was on the coaching staff of the team that won the last São Paulo Junior Football Cup.
A Sports Gazette found that coach Mano Menezes liked what he saw from Venâncio throughout the pre-season at CT Dr. Joaquim Grava. In addition to the defender, defender Fernando Vera, right-back Guilherme Pellegrin, goalkeeper Matheus Roger and midfielder Yago Gonçalves trained with the professional at the beginning of the year.