Benfica’s in-form midfielder Anderson Talisca showed reported Premier League suitors he can deliver on the big stage on Tuesday night, scoring the only goal in his side’s 1-0 Champions League home win over Monaco.
Having netted nine times in his last 10 games, the Brazilian was a constant menace for the French side’s defence, creating a number of excellent chances, before producing the goods himself from close range in the 82nd-minute to keep his team's hopes of progressing to the last-16 alive.
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Aged 20, Talisca was signed from Bahia in his homeland for just £3 million this past summer, but his hot start to life in Europe is said to have attracted the interest of both Arsenal and Liverpool, while the Portuguese press have also reported that Manchester United scouts were in attendance for his latest outing.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho even commented in September that the promising number 10 would be starring in the Premier League right now were it not for work permit issues, with his praise suggesting the Blues would be just as interested in acquiring his services in the near future.
‘I think Benfica hired well,’ he told Portuguese TV station TVI24. ‘They say Talisca is unknown, but he is only so unknown because he's not playing in England – and that’s because he doesn't have a work permit. If he had one, he would be here.
‘There were many English teams, great and important teams, that wanted him. There were even those who wanted to sign him, despite the fact that he could not play for now.
‘They wanted to sign him, put him in a minor league and hope that eventually he came to be capped and would consequently then get the work permit.’
A somewhat unconventional playmaker at 6ft 2in, Talisca’s all-round style has earned him the nickname “Yaya Talisca”, despite insisting that he models his game after compatriot Neymar, and a reported £18 million release clause in his contract has various European sides eager to make a winter approach.
However, the in-demand attacker has ruled out a move that soon for now, telling Portuguese paper O'Jogo: ‘I am thinking only of Benfica.
‘I'm ready, I know I have and am able to learn much from this wonderful group, with supporters and with the coach.’
Nevertheless, if he continues to progress towards fulfilling his undoubted potential over the coming months, then interested parties will no doubt be lining up outside the doors of the Estadio da Luz as soon as the market opens.