Rodrigo Caio claims he has not received an offers to leave Sao Paulo despite reports that Arsenal have made an approach. The versatile Brazilian centre-back has also reinforced a desire to stay with his current employers, although this decision may be taken out of his hands.
Caio impressed at the recently concluded Toulon Tournament to firmly place himself in the shop window for a possible summer transfer, and infamous agent Jorge Mendes moved to sign the 20-year-old following his starring performances for Brazil under-20s.
This has led to increased speculation that Europe would become the permanent home for Caio this summer, with Arsenal and Monaco both credited with interest in the player. Arsenal, it is claimed, have even submitted a formal £7 million bid.
Caio, though, rejects the assertion that the Gunners have indeed contacted Sao Paulo in the hope of securing his acquisition, and is hopeful of making a name for himself at his boyhood club.
“I am a Sao Paulo fan and I want to make history here, win titles, which is the most important thing,” he told Globo Esporte.
“There is little point in a player looking to leave and then returning quickly having failed to establish himself.
“I want to establish myself at Sao Paulo, gain recognition and I am focused here.
“Nothing concrete has come. I want to focus on Sao Paulo and I want to know that I have played well before moving to Europe.”
But, of course, Mendes is a wily operator perfectly able to get players and clubs to change their respective minds at the drop of a hat, and it may be that a little word in the ear of Caio will convince him to pursue to the Emirates Stadium.
What is he like?
Caio is predominantly a central defender, but is able to perform effectively in a holding midfield role given his ability to read the play and excellent passing capabilities. In a total of 36 appearances for Sao Paulo, Caio has a pass completion rate of 88 percent - better than the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey for Arsenal last season.
But it is aerially he excels most notably with a 74 percent success rate for Sao Paulo this season - winning 14 of the 19 aerial battles he has contested (thanks to Squawka for this stat). Last term he won only one less headed duel than Per Mertesacker, despite being eight inches shorter than the imposing German.
As Squawka outline, Caio has made only one defensive error in his 36 appearances, while he is also a threat in the opposition penalty area. The youngster has scored three goals for his club and created a further 16 chances. His shooting needs some work, however, with only a 43 percent accuracy.
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