Manchester City have been in pole position to harvest top South American talent in recent seasons due to their scouting network on the continent but now rival English clubs are formulating plans to challenge them for Latin talent
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Norwich may have been relegated after finishing bottom of the Premier League but the Canaries look set to spark a new trend.
The Norfolk club last week announced details of a new strategic football partnership with top-flight Brazilian side Coritiba. Mirror Football understands the partnership will allow the Canaries access to some top South American talent.
Now moves are already underway among several other Premier League clubs to copy Norwich. Manchester City have long since been established as the leading Premier League club in South America with several permanent scouts which have helped them bring over Brazilian teenager Kayky and identify the likes of Argentine Julián Álvarez.
Norwich were one of the few other top-flight clubs with permanent scouts in both Brazil and Argentina. Yet there were fears the Canaries could miss out on prospects over there due to changes post Brexit which stipulate foreign players must be 18 years old now before joining UK clubs from overseas.
But now under this new arrangement, hot talent identified by Norwich could theoretically join Coritiba before later coming to City when they are over 18. It is a model other Premier League clubs are set to emulate after Crystal Palace last summer joined a Global Football Alliance with 16 clubs from six continents including Chapeconese in Brazil.
Marco Correia de Oliveira and Jamie Digwood, directors at Footballworker UK, helped facilitate the agreement between Norwich and Coritiba. They said: “We appreciate all of the trust that both clubs have placed in us during this process, and we are sure that this partnership will be highly fruitful for both parties.”
Norwich say the arrangement will help both clubs develop relationships across areas such as football, recruitment, performance, data, analysis and communication departments.
Sporting director Stuart Webber said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Coritiba. This new and exciting relationship will allow us to further continue our development and reach into new territories. When Brexit was on the horizon, we started a project to increase our knowledge in South America, as we felt the rules would open that market somewhat. This exciting project has led us to an official partnership with Coritiba, which will be mutually beneficial for both clubs over the coming weeks, months and years.”
Based in the Parana state in Brazil, by the Paraguay border, Coritiba play their home games at the 40,502-capacity stadium Estadio Couto Pereira and are currently managed by former Paraguay international Gustavo Morinigo. After nine games in the Campeonato Brasiliero Serie A, the top tier of Brazilian football, Coritiba – who won the title in 1985 – currently sit in fourth position with 14 points.
Already the Brazilian club reckon they are reaping benefits with a big upturn in social media interest. Juarez Moraes, their president, said: “Having the partnership between Coritiba and Norwich City enriches football and raises our management standards. Both teams will reap the rewards of this project.
“We are very excited about the beginning of the work, which will certainly add knowledge and countless experiences globally, reflecting on everyone who is connected to the teams, such as athletes, employees and fans.”