Andre: Brazilian defensive midfielder is a top target for Premier League clubs
With the winter transfer window beginning, clubs are now looking to bolster their teams to end the second half of the season on a high. There are several names that are doing rounds in the transfer market. One of the most prominent is Fluminense’s defensive midfielder, Andre Trindade da Costa Neto.
The 22-year-old has been a revelation in the Brazilian league and is now on the transfer wishlist of several Premier League clubs. The Brazilian league has recently produced several young players, such as Real Madrid-bound Endrick Felipe, Flamengo’s attacking midfielder Matheus Franca, and teenage star Vitor Roque.
And Andre appears to be just the latest talent churned out by the land of Samba. Andre’s performance in the 2023 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A is enough evidence that the youngster can now switch to one of the biggest leagues.
So, who is Andre, and how good is he?
Who is Andre?
Born on July 16 2001, in Ibirataia, Bahia province, Andre started his footballing career at a young age. Not much is known about his early career, but he only started his journey to become a professional when he joined Fluminense’s youth academy in 2013 at 12.
However, like most players his age, Andre played in a different position as a striker. The competition at Fluminnese, even in their youth squads, was high, and Andre initially struggled to nail down a spot in the starting lineup. And it was only an accidental change where he was asked to slot in the middle of the park.
The switch helped him save his career and provided a solid base on which to build his career. Andre possessed two qualities in spades; impressive passing and incredible stamina. These two qualities were perfect for the modern number six role that requires the player to be physically and technically astute.
Andre won a Carioca Championship in the under-17 category with his role fixed. He continued his progress and finally earned the call-up to the reserve squad. His debut finally came on September 16, 2020. He only got to play 274 minutes this season, but even such a small sample size was enough for the coaches to give him more playing time in the upcoming season.
In his next season, he played 1910 minutes and was so impressive that he was awarded the Newcomer of the Season award.
With two seasons under his belt, Andre had gained a lot of first-flight football experience. So there were high hopes for him in the 2022 season. And Andre would not disappoint going to deliver his best season. He racked up 2443 passes, the most in the league and was also the third-most successful dribbler. These are the stats one expects from a world-class number six. He also averaged 67.4 accurate passes per 90 minutes, the best in the league.
This season, however, Andre has further improved his game by adding defensive awareness. While he still tops the passing charts in the league, he has also made the most interceptions and tackles in the Fluminense team.
On top of that, Andre has also improved his positional awareness, initiating 29 counter-pressing actions.
Andre style of play
Andre’s stats are super impressive, but for one to see his true potential, there is just one image: his current season’s heatmap. His heatmap is the stuff of dreams for a midfield player, as there is hardly any area on the pitch where he has yet to be present.
Another exciting aspect is his heatmap’s similarity with N’Golo Kante’s 2017-18 season. The Frenchman, who won the Premier League title with Leicester and Chelsea, was present everywhere, thwarting any danger from the opposition. This was also his last season in the number six role, as he was moved to the right of a three-man midfield to accommodate Jorginho.
Andre possesses the same brilliance, though his defensive sense still needs to improve to reach the level of Kante. Without the ball, Andre takes a position where he makes well-timed runs inside the box. This is reflected in his Expected Threat (xT) rating of 2.44, one of the league’s best ratings for a defensive midfielder.
After three years of regular football in the Brazilian league, it is safe to say that Andre has blossomed into a player with an impressive career, barring injuries. However, the potential he has shown has raised everyone’s hopes. Andre has already mastered a lot of traits and now needs to improve upon them and become consistent week in and week out.
And the only way to improve is to go to a bigger club where he will compete with players of far more quality than what Brazil has to offer. And with clubs such as Fulham and Liverpool chasing him, the future looks bright.
Andre’s release clause is reportedly to be £68 million, meaning clubs might be wary of signing him in the winter transfer window. However, things could be different come summer. Andre is taking the route several of his countrymen have done in the past on their way to becoming football’s next big star.