Premier League duo Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are planning to raid Benfica for exciting full-back Fabio Baptista, according to Calciomercato.
While fans of both the Villans and the Eagles are unlikely to be particularly clued about this Lisbon-born 19-year-old, reports suggesting that Atalanta are interested speak volumes about Baptista’s potential.
Last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists are the masters when it comes to unearthing rough diamonds after all, having discovered Dejan Kulusevski, Robin Gosens, Mario Pasalic and new £35 million Manchester United signing Amad Diallo, before either selling them on for a massive profit or transforming them into players with genuine elite-level potential.
Portugal U20 star Baptista has a long way to go yet. But the level of interest in an unproven youngster shows this is a player with real ability.
Aston Villa have put a real emphasis on bringing some of the most exciting, up-and-coming talents in the game to England in recent months.
If Villa can fight off competition from Atalanta and top-flight rivals Crystal Palace, Baptista will join Sil Swinkels, Lamare Bogarde, Oliwier Zych, Louis Barry and Ben Chrisene at their Bodymoor Heath academy base.
A skilful, attack-minded right-back who carries the ball with real confidence, Baptista looks an ideal fit for Dean Smith’s free-flowing style.
Roy Hodgson’s counter-attacking approach, meanwhile, has a tendency to get the best out of quicksilver wide players at Crystal Palace.