The 19-year-old Brazil under-20 captain already has a senior cap for the Brazilian international team - and has an outside chance of being at next year’s home World Cup.
His release clause in July, at a rather paltry £11 million, seemed to attract the attention of many European admirers - including Premier League duo Chelsea and Tottenham.
Undoubtedly he is one of the world’s top defensive talents, and Chelsea were likely hoping to add him to the growing collection of Samba stars at The Bridge such as Willian, Oscar, Ramires, David Luiz and Wallace. Meanwhile Spurs have plenty of homeland friends for him to get on with in the form of Paulinho and Sandro.
But that release clause is no more after he signed a new deal with the club in November - with the player stating at the time:
"The board gambled on me, talked to my company to make a long-term contract. It makes me very happy to show my work in Botafogo and the stance they had with me, called me to talk and have a career, a good future within the club.”
His new deal runs until 2017 and there has so far been no talk of a potential release clause in his new deal.
Chelsea and Tottenham may have moved on since this news - but it seems the market may be about to reopen for him this month.
And it all comes from the new appointment at AC Milan. Club legend Clarence Seedorf has taken over from Massimiliano Allegri after he was sacked as Head Coach of the Rossoneri earlier this week.
And Seedorf has one man on his mind when it comes to plugging the leaky Milan defence - Doria.
Seedorf also has an ace up his sleeve in the pursuit of the talented teenager - he has played with him for the past 18 months at Botafogo.
He is now reported to be his number one target, despite his apparent desire to play in the Copa Libertadores next season.
But he also spoke recently of his good relationship with Seedorf while playing with the Dutchman:
“Seedorf is a guy who was always getting us up, leading us in the activities, wanting to win and work. He never let us became relaxed with our game. We spent a lot of experiences together and it gave tranquillity to our work.”
While a January deal seems out of the question, with Doria’s Libertadores hopes taking preference over a switch to Europe for now.
But if Chelsea and Spurs did decide to revisit their interest, and go up against Milan, the odds will now be stacked against them.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald