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Brazilian forward Richarlison has become Marco Silva’s fifth major recruit of the summer. The 20-year-old joins on a long-term deal from Rio de Janeiro side Fluminese for an estimated £11m. The Hornets have beaten Europa League finalists, Ajax, in the race for his signature
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The signing comes in the wake of Marco Silva’s comments re-affirming the need for further strengthen the squad. Following the friendly match against Aston Villa he stated that he expected five or six additions before the window closes.
“When I talk about five or six, it’s easy to understand what positions we need, but first of all I have to analyse the quality we have in our squad because we have a lot of quality.”
Richarlison arrives on English shores with promise. The 10-cap Under-20 international becomes the 1st South American prospect to challenge the 1st team at Vicarage Road. 5 young South Americans have recently signed for the Premier League side. However, they have been sent on loan to Spanish 2nd Division side Real Vallodolid. Richarlison on the other hand was granted a work permit and will join up with the Watford side immediately.
He is comfortable on either wing, with the ability to use either foot to devastating effect. His agility and searing pace are key assets. Moreover, he is no headless-chicken; the youngster is adept at beating defenders and is relatively clinical in front of goal. The evidence lies in his record: 10 goals form 38 appearances since September 2016. While he has a lot to learn, the talent is clear to see.
Fans of Watford had an agonising wait on news of the FA’s work permit exceptions panel, which met last week. It is understood that Richarlison failed to satisfy the initial points-based system, but the Watford legal team made representations to persuade the committee in the appeal. The panel decides applications on a case-by-case basis. The club had been stung earlier this year, having the petition of talented Venezualan youngster Adalberto Penaranda rejected, despite starring in the Under-20 World Cup this summer.
He was spotted by Sky Sports’ cameras signing autographs from his car at the London Colney training facility after the appeal hearing had occurred, having finalized personal terms. The move was dependent on the outcome of the hearing, with the Hornets reluctant to have another promising young talent forced to play abroad on-loan. The successful application suggests that the newest recruit will feature for the first team this season. The stringent work permit rules have been more tightly applied in recent years.
Like many young Brazilians, Richarlison faces a tough few months adapting to a new culture and style of football. Former club Fluminese are mid-way through their season so the youngster is relatively fit, having featured heavily. If he manages to live up to the promise, the Hornets could have a star amongst their ranks.
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