RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 21: Lucas Paqueta of Flamengo gestures during a match between Flamengo and Botafogo as part of Brasileirao Series A 2018 at Maracana Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

6 Things Fans Need to Know About Expected New AC Milan Signing Lucas Paqueta

AC Milan are expected to imminently complete the €35m capture of 21-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta, with the emerging talent reportedly set for a medical this week ahead of a likely transfer in January following the end of the 2018 Brazilian club season. 

Here's a look at six things you need to know about the rising youngster...

6. He's Been Linked with a Host of Clubs

Milan were not alone in pursuing Paqueta if the rumour mill is to be believed, with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all linked with the coveted player at various times as well.

It has even been claimed in Brazil that Neymar personally 'lobbied' Paqueta to join PSG. But what swung the negotiations for Milan was apparently the greater possibility of playing time.  

5. He's Been Likened to Kaka

Milan famously plucked a young Kaka from Brazil back in 2003 and proceeded to reap the rewards as the talent became the best player in the world within just a few years, winning the Champions League and Ballon d'Or in 2007.

Given their success in this area once before, Milan have actually been tipped to manage Paqueta in a similar way. That means operating with patience while he adapts to a new environment in Europe and ensuring he has plenty of chance to play with fair runs in the team. 

4. ...And to James Rodriguez

As far as a more direct style comparison to a current player goes, there are certainly similarities to be drawn with Bayern Munich and Colombia star James Rodriguez.

Rather like James, Paqueta is also left-footed, while they both usually primarily prefer to occupy a central attacking midfield position as well.  

3. He's Got Some Surprising Attributes

Paqueta is Flamengo's leading scorer and one of the team's most prolific passers. But for a player noted for being technically gifted, he also has a set of surprising additional attributes that promise to stand him in good stead for the physicality of European football.

Stats from WhoScored can reveal that among Flamengo players that have played at least five Brasileirao games this season, only centre-back Rever (3.9) has won more aerial duels per game than Paqueta (2.7).

Despite his naturally attacking position, Paqueta is additionally a strong tackler, suggesting that he is more than happy to press from the front and harry opponents in midfield. Only two Flamengo players have won more tackles per game than Paqueta's 2.7 in the Brasileirao.

2. He's Already a Full Brazil International

Having represented Brazil at Under-20 level on several occasions in 2016 and 2017, Paqueta made his senior international bow in September of this year in a friendly against the United States. He then made an appearance in another friendly against El Salvador a few days later.

Prior to that, Paqueta had actually been named on coach Tite's provisional 35-man squad for the World Cup in Russia, highlighting just how much he is rated by the Selecao setup. The player is not in the current Brazil squad this month, but the future appears very bright.  

1. He's a Former Teammate of Vinicius Junior

Born in Rio de Janeiro and a product of the Flamengo youth setup, Paqueta is a former teammate of Real Madrid prodigy Vinicius Junior, who completed his long and eagerly awaited €45m move to Spain during the summer.

Paqueta broke into the Flamengo first team shortly before Vinicius did and they subsequently spent the 2017 season together, helping the club to the Rio de Janeiro state championship, as well as he first half of 2018 before Vinicius turned 18-years-old left for Europe.

Crucially for Milan, that relationship with Vincius, as well as being talked up by Bernabeu star and fellow Rio native Marcelo, didn't direct Paqueta into the arms of Real Madrid instead.