Brazil has done it again.
Yet another outstanding talent has taken his chances in Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A and has attracted the interest of Europe’s elite. This time, it’s 20-year-old São Paulo striker Brenner.
Brenner has taken the Brazilian league by storm this season, as he’s scored 11 goals in 15 starts in the league. In total, he’s scored 22 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions this year – a rather impressive accomplishment given his age and lack of senior-level experience.
The Cuiabá native made his debut for São Paulo in 2017 at the mere age of 17, in a 1-0 loss to Athletic Paranaense. Since then he’s featured 7 times in 2017-18 and 6 times in 2018-19 before establishing himself as a regular – and key player – in 2019-20.
His 22 goals this season has opened a lot of eyes for him in the headquarters of many European clubs. According to Brazilian publication UOL, are Ajax, Arsenal, Milan, and Juventus all interested in Brenner. But perhaps the most interesting report of all came from the reliable Dutch journalist Mike Verweij just a few days ago, when he reported that Ajax had been offered Brenner for 12 million euros.
But who is Brenner? And what type of player is he? Those are the questions that this article is aiming to provide you.
Brenner Souza da Silva, known as Brenner, was born on January 16th 2000 in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil. He joined São Paulo’s academy at the age of 11 and has been with the club for nine years.
After making his debut in 2017, he only made 17 senior appearances for the club until he established himself as a regular in 2020. In 2019, Brenner was loan out to Brazilian Serie A side Fluminense to get some senior experience but ended up only making 5 appearances for the club.
At Fluminense, Brenner even came close to quit football as he lost his motivation.
– I was loaned out to Fluminense… but then I lost focus, he told São Paulo FC TV and continued:
– I even asked to sit out games, to stay at home. I would head to training thinking about what I was going to do afterwards. I didn’t want to play football anymore.
But in the end, he regained that motivation when his previous manager, Diniz, was appointed as manager for São Paulo.
– I heard Diniz wanted me. That day, my battery was recharged 100 percent. I promised my mother that I was going to give it my all.
As for the national team, Brenner has so far only played with the U17 national team, where he was in the Brazil squad that won the 2017 Sudamericano U17 tournament in 2017.
Style of play
As a player, Brenner is a number nine. He’s a potent goal scorer and is currently joint-fourth in the race for the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A’s top scorer.
But even though he’s naturally a number nine, forward, Brenner is capable of playing on the wing. His characteristics actually make him a great fit there, as he has speed, nice technical abilities, and good decision-making. But with that said, he’s no question more efficient and best played as a striker.
The 20-year-olds main strengths are his natural goal instinct, his movement, and his anticipation.
As shown many times this season, Brenner only needs half a chance to score – and usually, he only needs one touch to do so. The São Paulo striker has an impressive first touch when it comes to direct finishing. When he sees the opportunity he shoots right away, instead of taking too many touches on the ball, and usually he scores whilst doing so.
That leads a bit to his anticipation. Brenner reads the play well from an offensive perspective. He’s good at reading how attacks and offensive situations will pan out before they have. That gives him an advantage, as he’s often at the right place at the right time. Something that’s crucial to become a top-class striker.
But it’s not just his anticipation that impresses off the ball. His movement does as well.
As Brenner is such a goal threat, the opponent must mark him intensely to not give him the time or space to score. That is something the 20-year-old knows and uses to his advantage. If you look closely at him when São Paulo attacks, you can see him make runs to take the defender with him, and by doing so he opens up space for his teammates to capitalize on. To do that at such a young age shows true maturity in his game.
Worth to mention, apart from the above-listed qualities, Brenner has an impressive technique, quick feet, speed, and is good at holding onto the ball as well as making quick turns. He’s also efficient in the air, even though he’s only 175cm tall. That, because of A) his anticipation and B) his timing and elasticity.
Speaking to the Brazilian football expert, the account BrasilEdition on Twitter, he would compare Brenner’s style to Erling Braut Haaland’s.
As many young players, Brenner has parts of his game that need to be polished and improved. But with that being said, he’s only got one evident flaw to his game: offside awareness. He’s sometimes too eager and too quick to make his runs, which instead kills the chance. But that can be worked on.
Price and possible destination.
If Mike Verweij’s report of Brenner being offered for 12 million euros is true, then it should be a no-brainer for most clubs to act quickly. Right now, Ajax is said to be in pole position even though a bunch of other top clubs are interested.
It’s hard to believe that Brenner is available for only 12 million though, as he was rumored to cost around 45 million pounds only a few months ago – as his release clause is at 50 million euros.
What’s positive about Brenner for the European clubs though, as many leagues have restrictions regarding Non-EU players, is that Brenner is eligible for an Italian passport from his mother’s ancestry.
Currently, the São Paulo striker has two years left on his current deal. But the club is going towards a stage where they either have to cash in or extend his deal. Right now, it seems that it’s leaning towards the second, so clubs must be ready to act if they’re interested.