On June 26, 2015, Fluminense Football Club announced on their official Twitter handle that the forward Robert Kenedy will be joining Chelsea next season for a fee around the region of £6.3m.
As Chelsea gets near to signing the Brazilian starlet, let us take a closer look at who the player really is.
Name: Robert Kenedy Nunes do Nascimento
Age: 19 years
Place of birth: Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil
Position: Forward / Attacking Midfield
Current Club: Fluminense Football Club
National team: Brazil U 17, Brazil U 20
Robert Kenedy was scouted by Fluminense at a young age. After a good eye-catching spell at the 2013 Copa Sao Paulo, which is a traditional Brazilian youth football competition, Kenedy earned himself a call-up to the Brazil U 17 side. He excelled in the team, scoring six goals in the 2013 South America Championships, and finishing as his side’s top scorer.
His performances earned him a spot in the first team squad in mid-2013. Marcelo Teixeira, the Fluminense youth director said,
“He has always performed well for our youth teams and his progress has allowed us to put our faith in him.”
In 2015, as Fluminense had a fall out with their sponsors Unimed, the club started to struggle financially. With no money to buy new players, or to hold on to the talented ones, the club started to consider the players from their reputed Xerem Academy. With Gerson and Kenedy the two best players at the academy, it would prove to be a breakout season for the young forward.
During his youth team days, Kenedy played on the flanks, and with his blistering pace and confident dribbling, he drew comparisons with the likes of Neymar. Now a bit older and more mature, Kenedy has been bringing more physicality into his game, which is vital if he has to play in Europe.
Predominantly left-footed, he is normally deployed on the right flank, where he runs at defenders, cutting in to shoot from the edge of the box. With his impressive strength and his left footedness, he looks more like Hulk, the Brazilian forward, who himself has been linked with a move to Chelsea numerous times even in the previous season. Although a much more slippery customer than Hulk, Kenedy needs to use his body more sensibly if he is to make it big, in the Premier League.
In last year’s Brazilian Serie A, Kenedy made 18 of his 20 appearances from the bench, but he did score 2 goals. With 5 goals from 40 appearances across two seasons, Kenedy didn’t really set the league on fire with his talents. However, his class was apparent with his performances for the U 20 side. Evidently, this was the only positive thing in an otherwise stale show by the Brazilians, in the South America U 20 Championship in Uruguay earlier this year.
Kenedy is only 19, which means that the current rules would not allow him to play in the Premier League due to work permit issues, and thus it is very likely he will be loaned out somewhere in Europe to gain experience. With Vitesse Arnhem looking like a possible destination, Kenedy needs to perform regularly for at least a year or two before getting a call up to Stamford Bridge.
Fluminense has the reputation of creating great talent, with former products like Thiago Silva and Rafael already playing at big clubs. And with the likes of Oscar, Ramires and Willian already at the club, along with another newly signed Brazilian compatriot Nathan, Kenedy should have no problems settling in London.
Although first team football at Chelsea is a long way away, the youngster, with right guidance and attitude should be a great talent in the making.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire
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