What Aston Villa fans should know about the Atletico Madrid striker said to be on Tim Sherwood's radar.
With Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood keen to add more firepower to his squad in the event of Premier League survival, TMW report that Atletico Madrid striker Leo Baptistao is one name at the top of his wishlist.
The Brazilian, 22, is on loan at La Liga rivals Rayo Vallecano this season but, with him likely heading for pastures new in the summer, here are five facts claret and blues fans should know ahead of a potential pursuit.
1) Born in Santos, Sao Paulo, Baptistao started his career out with local side Portuguesa Santista alongside now-superstar Neymar, before moving to Spain in 2008 at just 16 to join Rayo.
2) His start to life in Spain was disrupted, however, after he contracted hepatitis soon after arriving and had to return home to seek treatment from his father, who is a doctor.
He would then endure another crisis after recovering, when the Spanish Football Federation denied him the paperwork to re-join Vallecano, forcing him to spend a season on loan at SD San Fernando before the matter was resolved.
3) After breaking his collarbone during his preseason debut with the first-team in August 2011, Baptistao spent much of the 2011-12 campaign on sidelines, but the following term would see him make his long-awaited breakthrough.
Becoming new manager Paco Jimenez’s first-choice striker, he scored six goals over the first half of the season, with his promising, all-round performances attracting interest from the likes Liverpool, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United, per ESPN.
4) While injuries would hamper him after the winter break, Baptistao still impressed enough during his first La Liga season to earn a move to Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2013, but a record of just one goal in 21 top-flight games during their title-winning campaign soon saw him fall out of favour with Diego Simeone.
5) Shipped back to his former club on a season-long loan in August, he has since netted seven times in 22 games and, according to the Mirror, was a transfer target for Swansea City following Wilfred Bony’s £28 million departure to Manchester City.
Now Villa are said to have entered the race with him looking set to leave the Vicente Calderon on a permanent basis at the end of the season and, with an Italian passport, there would be no potential work permit issues to deal with.