When Florent Malouda joined Chelsea from Lyon in 2007 many said he’ll be the new Frank Ribery - talented youngster that will be one of the top footballers of the when given the chance to move to one of Europe’s “bigger leagues”. Unfortunately that wasn't the case for the French winger. Hopefully, things might turn out different for Brazilian starlet Bernard. At 20 years of age, he’s been awarded a host of plaudits since his arrival of the footballing scene including the Best Young Player Award in Brazil's Serie A and as well as gushing praise from Atletico Mineiro teammate Ronaldinho.
I make the Malouda comparison because Bernard's style is more reminiscent of the French winger than his countryman Ronaldinho. While his defensive work may need work, his combination of flair and combative style could make him a rough diamond that would be a good fit for the Premier League. With a short powerful 5ft 4 physique and a low centre of gravity that makes him hard to knock of the ball, Bernard says he styles his play much on Brazilian legend Romario; "I can't say enough good things about him. He helped me a lot. I want him to stay and to learn more from him."
This season the youngster has notched up 10 goals for Mineiro, while assisting double that total in goals and at the same time bamboozled opponents his speedy dribbling on his way to earning his first Brazilian national team cap last year. He could be a big name for the Selecao come the 2014 World Cup. He’s also grabbed the attention of Chelsea. Last season, reports pointed Bernard as the target for a €7million offer from a Russian club. Atletico Mineiro refused the offer instead wanting Bernard to go to the next level in this season’s Brazilian Championship. Arsene Wenger should expect to pay more than that if Arsenal really want the newcomer.