Newcastle United fans were probably caught by surprise this week, when the Magpies were linked to Santos wonderkid Marcos Leonardo.

At least three reports from Brazil claimed that Eddie Howe’s side have made contact for the signing, and could soon make a bid for the youngster.

Even though that story came out of nothing, it makes a lot of sense. And we’re here to explain why Marcos Leonardo is a reasonable target for Newcastle and any other Premier League clubs.

Just like most of Santos’ home-grown talents, the striker made his debut quite early, at the age of 17. That’s why now, despite being just 20, he already has some decent experience and that shows in his game.

Over the past couple of years, Marcos Leonardo has been showing how much of a goalscorer he is. First with 21 goals in 2022, now with another 21 in 2023 so far.

The reason why he isn’t in Europe yet is simply because of Santos’ strategy. He had been heavily linked to AS Roma and Lazio last summer, but since the club had already sold Deivid Washington and Angelo to Chelsea, they couldn’t lose another attacker, even though they had promised him he’d be sold in that window.

That was a tense situation because Marcos Leonardo could well have rebelled against the Brazilian side, but he didn’t. He not only stayed and committed himself, but is also saving them from relegation, because despite how bad the team is doing, currently standing 16th in a league of 20 clubs, he’s the league’s second top goalscorer.

The striker also impressed at the U-20 World Cup this year, with five goals in five appearances, and there he definitely drew interest from many European sides.

What impresses in Marcos Leonardo the most is that he isn’t just a goalscorer. His speed and strength make him a dangerous weapon in counter-attacks, even though his height and age may fool some who won’t think he’s that strong.

There’s obviously a lot to be polished, especially in terms of finishing. But if we’re talking about the big talents in Brazil, he’s definitely one of the most promising players coming through, and Newcastle investing in him could be wise, especially with Santos reportedly demanding less than €25m.

The Magpies seem fine with their attacking options for now, and it would be good for the Brazilian to arrive with time to adapt and develop before he’s urged to deliver.