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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  International sports

Copa America standouts eye transfers to top European clubs

Brazil's Dani Alves celebrates with the trophy for best player of the tournament after Brazil's 3-1 victory over Peru in the final soccer match of the Copa America at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) ORG XMIT: XFD181 (Victor R. Caivano / AP)
Brazil's Dani Alves celebrates with the trophy for best player of the tournament after Brazil's 3-1 victory over Peru in the final soccer match of the Copa America at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) ORG XMIT: XFD181 (Victor R. Caivano / AP)
By Mauricio Savarese Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO – Now that the Copa America is over, several standout South American players are looking to transfer to top clubs in Europe. Some could be less expensive now than later, while others are good bargains who’ve never played for a European team.

Here are some players who are eying a transfer after the South American cup, which Brazil won for the ninth time on Sunday by beating Peru:

Dani Alves, Brazil

The 36-year-old right back and Brazil captain was joking about his status as he left the Maracana Stadium after winning the Copa America and being chosen the best player of the tournament.

“I have no national team matches, no club to go to. Can you find me a job?” he said.

Alves’ contract with Paris Saint-Germain has expired, and he is free to go anywhere as long as he can keep winning.

Alves dribbled, made deep passes, defended and scored a goal. He has lifted astonishing 40 trophies in his professional career and is still very fit. He played all 90 minutes in several of Brazil’s tournament matches, and could also become a midfielder to extend his career.

His time with the national team may continue as well, even though he will be 39 by the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Everton, Brazil

The 23-year-old left winger only played because of Neymar’s injury and became a key member of the Copa America-winning team. Everton matched Peru’s Paolo Guerrero as the top scorer of the tournament with three goals. A gifted dribbler, he has the flair of the best Brazilian players. He can score from long range and is becoming a better player without the ball. Known at home as “Cebolinha,” a reference to a popular Brazilian comic-book character, Everton, who shares a name with a Premier League stalwart, has already hinted England or Spain would be his preferred destinations.

Brazilian club Gremio set Everton’s transfer fee at 80 million euros ($89.7 million), a price that could go up after his performances in the tournament. Scouts will be able to see him in action for his club on Wednesday.

Gatito Fernandez, Paraguay

No one was picked as man of the match in the Copa America more often than the goalkeeper who plays for Brazil’s Botafogo. The 31-year-old Fernandez had four solid matches, including a memorable quarterfinal performance against Brazil in which he made eight saves, three of them spectacular, during regular time.

Even before the tournament, Fernandez had been considering a move to fulfill his dreams of playing for a competitive European side for the first time in his career. Rio de Janeiro-based Botafogo is dealing with financial trouble and needs to make some money out of its sole hero.

The Paraguayan, who is the son of legendary stopper Gato Fernandez, has already been linked to Porto. The website Transfermarkt estimated his value before the Copa America at $2.5 million.

Franco Armani, Argentina

If not for the River Plate goalkeeper, superstar Lionel Messi wouldn’t have made it out of the Copa America group stage. The 32-year-old Armani saved a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay that kept his team in the tournament. The stopper was the high point of Argentina’s defense, which is still unstable.

Deemed by many as the best goalkeeper in South America, Armani looks set to play in Europe for the first time in his career. He has improved his foot game in recent years and kept his cool during turbulent times with Argentina. His agent said European clubs are reaching out with offers, but none of them has been accepted so far. Transfermarkt estimated his value at $7.85 million.

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