Flamengo have ruled out selling the jewel of their academy, 16-year-old Vinicius Junior, after reported interest from a number of European clubs including Barcelona.
Vinicius has been excelling at the Copa de São Paulo under-20 tournament during Flamengo’s run to the quarter-finals and several European admirers have emerged, among them most of the Premier League’s big spenders.
"His development as a player won’t be rushed"
However, Flamengo chief executive Rodrigo Caetano has stated that the club’s intention is to hold on to their young star. “It doesn’t matter what sort of offer comes in, we’ll only be on the losing end if we agree to negotiate. We want the lad to play for Flamengo, this is fundamental, and there is an established plan in that respect. We are geared towards the player and his family so that everything takes place with calm and prudence. His development as a player won’t be rushed. We don’t want a great promise to end up as a broken toy,” Caetano said.
Flamengo handed Vinicius a professional contract before the Copinha with a minimum release clause of 30 million euros, in the knowledge that the São Paulo tournament has traditionally been the showcase for stars of the future to emerge, among them Neymar, Danilo, Lucas Moura, Casemiro and Oscar.