With rumours growing ever-stronger that Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Alex Teixeira will be a Chelsea player by the end of the month, it is time to take a look back at his career to date and assess his potential impact at Stamford Bridge.
Teixeira was originally scouted aged just nine for Brazilian side Vasco de Gama, and would go on to spend the entirety of his youth career at the club, quickly progressing through the age groups. This was until the midfielder was promoted to the first team at Vasco when he was just 18 years-old making an instant impact at the club, scoring his first senior goal shortly after making his debut. Unfortunately, the club were relegated during the young midfielder’s first season in senior football, however, during his time in Brazil’s second division, Teixeira took on a starring role, helping his club win the league by seven points.
His performances that season earned the 19-year-old a place in Brazil’s squad for the under-19 World Cup where he scored three goals but, unfortunately, missed the crucial penalty in the final against Ghana. Despite this, Teixeira was voted the tournament’s second best player for his impressive displays, a sign of things to come for his emerging talent.
The young Brazilian’s performances for club and country were picked up on by Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk who paid approximately six million euros for his services. So at the tender age of just 19, the precocious midfielder departed on the well-trodden path to Eastern Europe, an entry point many young South Americans use to get into European football.
Teixeira’s first few season’s in Donetsk were consistent but he often found himself in the shadow of Brazilian counterparts Willian and Douglas Costa. However, now that the pair have moved on to big European clubs, the 26-year-old has shot to prominence and has been hugely impressive over the past two years.
After being given a more advanced role by Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu for the 2014/15 campaign, the attacking midfielder netted an impressive 22 goals in 37 games in all competitions for the Ukrainian outfit. However, Teixeira has improved on his goal-scoring prowess this season, netting 26 times in 25 outings including 22 in 15 in the league.
It is stats like these which has projected the Brazilian into the conscience of Europe’s big clubs, however, there is an aspect of his game which cannot be put into such simple figures, his work-rate. After Fernandinho left the Ukrainian club, Teixeira was asked to play a much deeper role than he had been accustomed to, and he did so with good effect. This experience has given the playmaker an appreciation of the value of working hard and pressing from the front which is something that is becoming hugely important in the Premier League.
Judging by his record and impressive performances, it is surprising that the attacking midfielder has never been capped for Brazil as he has all the makings of a top-class modern-day footballer. However, this does not detract from his suitability for English football, and should Teixeira make the move to Stamford Bridge he could help to revitalise the Blues’ frontline which has looked very lacklustre so far this season.