Everton was the breakout star of Brazil's recent Copa America triumph, but the European transfer window shut with the little left winger stuck at Gremio. The explanation? He's 23, and in the eyes of the major clubs on the other side of the Atlantic, that makes him old. It is significant that the last two players voted as the best of the continent -- Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez last year and Luan in 2017 -- have not been coveted by the European giants. Martinez, of course, has made the move to the U.S., while Luan's career has stalled -- he's languishing on the bench at Gremio.
In short, European teams want to buy such talent young. It is a recognition that a large gap has opened up in the level of play of the best teams on either side of the Atlantic. The earlier the South American starlet is acquired, the more time he has to adapt and the greater his transfer value will be once he proves his worth.
This list of 10 South American talents is, then, a compilation of young players, some of them right at the start of their professional careers. Not all of them will make the grade. But, in October 2019, all of them are worth watching. Among them there could be some future global stars.
Exequiel Palacios | 20 | Midfielder | River Plate
How many players to feature in the closing stages of this year's Copa Libertadores could one day be tipping the balance in the Champions League? Few candidates come to mind, but the name of Palacios leaps out. Tall, elegant, versatile and not yet 21, Palacios looks like an even more promising version of the young Lucho Gonzalez, the Argentine midfielder who gave such sterling service to Porto and Marseilles.
Palacios is strong on the ball, with an impressive range of passing and a combination of calm and subtlety in the final third of the field. A possible worry is the number of injuries he has already picked up -- such as the one that kept him out of the Copa America. Had he stayed fit, he probably would already be in Europe, where Real Madrid have shown interest.
Alexis Mac Allister | 20 | Midfielder | Boca Juniors
From the same generation as Palacios and due to face him in the semifinals of the Libertadores, Mac Allister already has his European destination sorted out. He made his name at Argentinos Juniors and is on loan at Boca after being picked up by Brighton in the Premier League, where he will be heading at the end of the year.
They will be getting a very interesting attacking midfielder, who has just made his senior debut for Argentina. From a renowned footballing family, Alexis looks like being the most talented of the bunch. He is mobile and dynamic, strikes the ball well and has the gift of being able to sneak into the penalty area and score. The question marks surround his lack of physical presence and his favoured position. He looks much more comfortable in a central role rather than operating wide, but will Brighton have room for a playmaker? And in the more compact midfields of Europe, will he find the space to shine?
Nicolas Dominguez | 21 | Midfielder | Velez Sarsfield
Another of Argentina's promising crop of central midfielders, and another who will soon be bound for Europe. Bologna will be taking him to Italy next year in the hope that he can maintain his eye-catching rate of progress.
Under the watchful gaze of manager Gabriel Heinze, Dominguez is developing into an elegant central midfielder, capable of organising the play and, increasingly, of bursting beyond the strikers and aiming for goal. He enjoyed a fine half hour off the bench last month in his international debut against Chile, turning well and surging forward impressively, doing justice to his nickname of "The Prince." He is, though, very short on experience. Unlike Palacios or Mac Allister, he has yet to play in the Copa Libertadores. But if he is still an unknown quantity, he is certainly an interesting one.
Pedrinho | 21 | Midfielder | Corinthians
Corinthians are in touch with the leaders of the Brazilian championship, with a large part of that success down to the emergence of attacking midfielder Pedrinho. Now in his third season in and around the first team, Pedrinho continues to show steady improvement and there are even hopes that Corinthians may have unearthed a left-footed version of Philippe Coutinho.
Like Coutinho, Pedrinho likes to operate on his "wrong" wing -- that is, wide on the right, cutting infield onto his stronger left foot. Like Coutinho, he can shoot with surprising whip and power; he's also developing the priceless gift of being able to burst outside the full-back and use his right foot.
The club's precarious financial situation will surely mean they sell in one of the next two transfer windows. If so, he will soon hope to deal with the doubts that he might be too frail for Europe.
Joao Pedro | 18 | Forward | Fluminense
A flurry of goals in May turned an unknown 17-year-old into a household name across Brazil. Especially impressive was his hat trick against Colombian giants Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana. In the rangy figure of Joao Pedro, there is something of the original Ronaldo. The Fluminense youngster may yet to show the same explosive pace running with the ball, but there is real promise in the fluidity of his movements, the quality of his finishing and his awareness of what is going on around him.
Predictably enough, football is not always proving as easy as those days in May when he could not stop scoring, and playing in a side threatened with relegation brings pressures of its own. But Joao Pedro looks like a centre-forward of rare talent, who next year will be on his way to Watford.
Talles Magno | 17 | Forward | Vasco da Gama
When new Sao Paulo signing Dani Alves lost his first game back in Brazil, the architect was a striker who was not even born when Alves was already a first-team regular with Bahia. The day belonged to Magno, a lanky figure operating on the left of Vasco da Gama's attack who had not long passed his 17th birthday. Right footed but proficient with his left, the youngster stood out both for his excellent ball control and the impression that he appeared to know what he wanted to do before the ball came to him.
It was clear why Vasco had been so reluctant to release him for a friendly match with the Brazil Under-17 side. They may well be keen to keep him in the key months of October and November, when Brazil host the Under-17 World Cup. But in today's market conditions, he is unlikely to stay for long: Sporting Lisbon already have first option on him.
Jose Cifuentes | 20 | Midfielder | America de Quito
The central midfield powerhouse established himself in the Ecuador side that this year won the South American Under-20 Championship and went on to finish third in the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
European scouts, then, had plenty of opportunities to have a look at Cifuentes, but despite much speculation, he didn't move last summer. Perhaps his club, a modest outfit in Ecuador, think that he will be worth even more in the next transfer window after having made his senior international debut.
Strong and mobile with a cracking shot, he would seem to have the virtues to adapt to a European midfield.
Kevin Quevedo | 22 | Forward | Alianza Lima
Quevedo is Peru's new great hope, a player who's been in fine form this year and gained a rapturous reception from the fans when he came off the bench to make his international debut against Ecuador in New Jersey last month.
A right-footed winger who looks most effective cutting in from the left, Quevedo is sleek and aggressive. After a couple of seasons finding his feet in the professional game, he now looks full of confidence for Alianza and carries himself on the field with the swagger of a star. But given the relative weakness of the Peruvian league, the inevitable question remains: does he have what it takes to tip the balance at a higher level?
Santiago Arzamendia | 22 | Defender | Cerro Porteno
Arzamendia is a squat little left-back, quick, with good recovery speed, and reads the game well enough to cover his centre-backs. He can also make an attacking contribution with his forward bursts and crosses from the left.
Paraguay's first-choice left-back who could have chosen to play for Argentina, where he was born, Arzamendia's decision is Argentina's loss, and his future at club level is unlikely to be restricted to Paraguay.
Wuilker Farinez | 21| Goalkeeper | Millonarios
Venezuela's keeper committed quite the blunder against Argentina in the quarterfinals of the Copa America, a lapse that sticks in the memory because it was so uncharacteristic. Wonderfully lithe and an athletic figure who was a key member of the Venezuela side that came second in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup, Farinez already has nearly 20 caps with the senior side and is an idol with one of Colombia's giant clubs.
It is surprising that Farinez has not made the move to Europe already. The probable explanation is that potential buyers have been put off by his lack of height at 5-foot-10. Then again, Iker Casillas was on the short side for a keeper, and Farinez could turn out to be just as good.