Neymar Junior, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior… Endrick Felipe? The Palmeiras youngster is the name on everyone’s lips as the latest wonderkid to come out of Brazil, with a host of top clubs pursuing him.
Whispers of his talent reached Europe years ago, already making an impression for Brazil’s youth teams and at Palmeiras’ academy. The 16-year-old forward signed his first professional deal with Palmeiras in the summer, keeping him at the club until the age of 19, in 2025.
It has a €60m release clause in it, which can be activated by a European side in 2024 – when Endrick is 18 and legally allowed to leave Brazil. Real Madrid and Chelsea have been amongst the clubs hotly linked with his signature, as have Paris Saint-Germain. The French giants are reportedly dropping out of the race, as per Fichajes.net, after a joint bid of €93m for Endrick (€58m) and another promising youngster William Estevao (€35m) was turned down. They say Sporting Director Luis Campos will now turn his attentions elsewhere.
That leaves Real Madrid in pole position, with it seemingly being a given that any club who wants his services will have to pay his release clause, before then persuading him to join the club with no doubt a sizable contract too.
Is €60m a reasonable price to pay though? Of course the market sets the price and with Endrick as in demand as he is, his fee will not be lowered.
However it does seem remarkable that a player that has just seven senior appearances can command a fee befitting of a world star. By the time Endrick makes his eventual move to Europe, he will have many more appearances and likely goals to his name, but the purchase is being made based off of his current performances.
Recalling the situations of the stars mentioned earlier, the standout imports from Brazil were far more experienced when they made their moves.
Neymar was no longer a teenager by the time he joined Barcelona, having played 134 times for Santos. He is the only one of those three who will command a higher fee than Endrick, even allowing for inflation, but was also starring for Brazil at that point.
Rodrygo also came through at Santos and made 49 appearances before moving for €45m to Real Madrid as an 18-year-old. Vinicius had also played 49 times for Flamengo ahead of his transfer for the same amount the previous year.
While those are still small sample sizes, it is at least two seasons of senior football upon which scouts can confirm their initial thoughts on a player.
Endrick’s potential is not to be doubted here or elsewhere. However it is a remarkably expensive bet to make that he will fulfil it. Less remembered is the example of Reinier Jesus, who joined Los Blancos for €30m in 2020. He may still yet come good, and was never regarded in the same category of talent as Vinicius, but he had less of a sample size to judge on. He played just 15 times for Flamengo before making the jump.
Clearly Real Madrid’s scouts feel that Endrick is the real deal and worth risk in the long run. His price may even look small if player prices continue to rise in the 2020s. However there is no doubt that at this time, Palmeiras must be the one most content out of any deal, with so much development ahead of Endrick yet to come.