Luan and Arthur were the two players that shone as Gremio beat Lanús over two legs to claim a third Copa Libertadores victory.
Luan among the goals for Gremio, Atleti and Valencia chase
Luan, a forward, was close to leaving the Brazilian club in the summer, and has gone on to enjoy the best season of his career. The 24-year-old scored eight goals in the Libertadores, finishing as the second top scorer in the competition.
His performances throughout 2017 have been exemplary. He has scored a total of 18 goals in a Gremio shirt, and has laid on a further 11 assists for his team-mates. In an interview with AS, Gremio manager Renato Gaucho named Luan as the best player currently plying his trade in Brazilian football.
Luan’s future lies in Europe. Spartak Moscow were close to securing his signature in the summer. Liverpool and Sampdoria also formed part of the chasing pack. He signed a new contract before the Libertadores semi-final victory over Barcelona of Ecuador, and his release clause is set at €20 million. As such, Valencia and Atlético are among the clubs in pursuit of the man of the moment in Brazil.
Arthur strides on to the scene
Arthur has knocked down the door in 2017. The classy midfielder was named the man of the match in the second leg against Lanús, despite leaving the pitch after 51 minutes due to an ankle injury.
He is a silky operator in the centre of the park; an assured passer who both conserves possession of the ball, and is capable of winning it back. He has become a key part of Renato Gaucho’s Gremio at the tender age of 21. Yet Arthur’s game is defined by a maturity that belies his youth.
He astutely managed both legs of the Libertadores final, drawing upon an ability to understand and interpret the scene developing around him on the pitch.
Real Madrid within their sights
Having lifted South America’s most prestigious club competition, Luan and Arthur will now concentrate on doing their thing at the Club World Cup, with a view to winning a place in Tite’s Brazil squad next summer. Both have been called up for international duty this year, and Tite is in contact with their club coach in order to keep a finger on the pulse of their development.
Luan and Arthur have announced themselves on the scene this year, and both will be eager to close out 2017 by doing damage to Real Madrid in the United Arab Emirates.