Tottenham Hotspur linked to Atletico Mineiro star by Brazilian press

Bernard playing for Atletico Mineiro against Cruzeiro in 2011. - Clube Atletico Mineiro on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Atletico Mineiro star Bernard has been linked to a move to Tottenham Hotspur by the Brazilian press, but Borussia Dortmund is also after him.

Tottenham Hotspur are among the clubs linked to Bernard, the 20-year-old Brazil attacker currently staring for Atletico Mineiro. He played a bit as an 18-year-old for Atletico Mineiro, but really began to show his potential last year. This year, he's looked great in the Minas Gerais state league and Copa Libertadores, the latter being a much higher standard of competition.

I got tipped off and decided to go digging after seeing this.

Since that's a quote from Atletico Mineiro's president, I figured it was worth a look. Turns out that tweet is a wee bit misleading. Alexandre Kalil didn't mention Tottenham. He said that an English club had bid for Bernard, but refused to name them.

O Borussia Dortmund, da Alemanha, é um dos clubes interessados por Bernard. Embora não tenha revelado qual clube inglês fez proposta pelo atacante, o presidente disse, em outro momento da entrevista, ter tido contato recente com dirigentes do Tottenham.

Super Esportes said that he did not name Tottenham today, but had mentioned them in a previous interview. He did, however, mention Borussia Dortmund by name on Thursday.

Here's a quote from Kalil:

"Nós hoje temos cinco clubes interessados no Bernard. Não vou falar quanto quero por ele, porque senão o cara que viria a mais, virá a menos. São cinco clubes interessados no Bernard. Acho muito difícil mantê-lo depois da Libertadores"

Rougly translated, that says that five clubs are interested in Bernard. He prefers not to name them because it could hurt negotiations, and he thinks it will be very hard to hold on to Bernard past the Libertadores.

For those who haven't seen Bernard play, he's an attacking midfielder who is probably at his best on the left wing. If Andre Villas-Boas is going to make a permanent switch to a 4-3-3 formation with Gareth Bale as an inside forward on the right, Bernard would be the perfect compliment on the opposite side.

I'm not a fan of the 'he's too small for the Premier League' cliche that gets spat around whenever we're linked to players like this, but I also think he'd need some time to adjust to European football. If we buy Bernard -- and, just to reiterate, this is total speculation and we have no idea whether or not Tottenham are genuinely interested -- I'd be an advocate for the Chelsea strategy of stashing him in a lower-level foreign league for a season, then letting him fight for a first team place in the summer of 2014.

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