Football: Leverkusen sign Brazilian starlet Wendell

Bayer Leverkusen have signed Brazilian left-back Wendell for next season on a five-year deal to continue the club's tradition of recruiting south American talent.

The 20-year-old, who will join Bayer at the end of the season, currently plays in the Brazilian top flight for Gremio, on loan from fourth-tier Londrina.

Wendell has penned a deal until June 2019 after Bayer's director of sport Rudi Voeller flew to south American to complete the signing.

"Wendell is a big talent who can play a decisive role for us," said Voeller.

"We are sure that at Bayer, he can continue Leverkusen's great tradition of fielding top Brazilian players."

Voeller watched the new signing play in a 3-0 win over Colombia's Atletico Nacional in south American's Copa Libertadores along with assistant coach Daniel Niedzkowski.

According to Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora, Wendell cost Leverkusen 6.5 million euros (US$8.8m).

He was advised to join Leverkusen by compatriot and former Bayern Munich star Ze Roberto, who now plays for Gremio.

The 39-year-old spent four years at Leverkusen, with whom he reached the 2002 Champions League final, then won four Bundesliga titles with Bayern.

Leverkusen has a history of signing Brazil internationals -- as well as Ze Roberto, right-back Jorginho and attacking midfielder Paulo Sergio have also featured for the German side.

"Leverkusen has an excellent reputation in Brazil and I had a long chat with my Gremio captain Ze Roberto, who spent many years with Bayer," said Wendell.

"He advised me to make the move, because he spoke about his time in Leverkusen in the highest terms."