Barcelona target Flamengo midfielder Lucas Paqueta

The 21-year-old made his debut for Brazil against the USA over the weekend

Lucas Paquetá, centrocampista del Flamengo, es uno de los jugadores con mayor proyección del fútbol brasileño
Lucas Paquetá, centrocampista del Flamengo, es uno de los jugadores con mayor proyección del fútbol brasileño | AFP

Lucas Paqueta has become an object of desire for Barcelona as the look to renew their midfield. The 21-year-old, from Rio de Janeiro, is the star of the Flamengo team. 

Joaquim Piera

@joaquimpiera

He's taken huge steps forward in 2018 and his progression has not gone unnoticed in Europe. And Barça, once again, are one of the teams with an eye on him -- although they won't be short of competition. 

Tite included Paqueta in his 30-man squad for the World Cup but he was one of the players left out when it was reduced to 23, along with Barça's Arthur Melo. 

But both are now set to play a key role for the Brazil national team and both made their debuts on Friday in the 2-0 win over the United States in New Jersey -- they played ahead of Casemiro for the final 30 minutes. 

Naturally left-footed, Paqueta can use both feet and is a technical player who can feature across the midfield. 

Flamengo coach Mauricio Barbieri has given him the responsibility of creating in attack, moving from the right to the middle, after spending months in a box-to-box role. 

Paqueta's contract with Flamengo runs until December 2020 and his release clause is 50 million euros. He's spent months negotiating a new deal, which would increase his salary and his clause (to 70 million). 

"Now he's gone with the national team, it's clear he's climbed up a step," said Flamengo vice-president Ricardo Lomba. "We want him to stay and will do everything we can to keep him at the club where he's developed as a player." 

Eventually, though, his future lies in Europe. This summer he was close to signing to Paris Saint-Germain but after that move fell through a window has opened for Barcelona. Tying him down and leaving him Brazil, as occurred with Arthur, is the Catalan club's hope. 

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