Victor Andrade’s name has started doing rounds in a very busy transfer market. The player who presently plays for the Brazilian power-house Santos is widely tipped to be the next Neymar, and the two were team-mates last season for the Vila Belmiro outfit. Here is a little more about another Brazilian wunderkind, who might be seen in Europe very soon.
Born in the state of Sergipe, in the north of Brazil, this player caught the attention of Benfica when he was 12 years old. Andrade played there for a little time and his fortune changed when he appeared in one of the programs for the Brazilian television channel ‘Fantástico’. This is when Santos came calling. Five days before he had to travel back to Portugal, he received an offer from Santos and accepted it (2007). Next year, he was the top scorer for Paulista U13, with 21 goals. He also was the top scorer for Paulista U17, with 13 goals.
Born in 1995, Victor Andrade hit the headlines when, following public interest from top clubs of England and Spain, Santos inserted a €50 million release clause into his contract (2011). At the time, his buy-out clause was €5 million more than Neymar’s.
On 6 June 2012, coach Muricy Ramalho handed Andrade his professional debut, replacing Alan Kardec in a match against Fluminense. He was 16 at the time. With three goals in 22 appearances in Serie A, Andrade has put on numerous eye catching displays. His goals have come against Flamengo, Palmeiras and Cruzeiro. The game against Cruzeiro was arguably his best display, as he scored his first goal and set-up another in a 4-2 win, still shy of his 17th birthday at the time; he played the entire 90 minutes.
The 17 year old can operate on the left wing and as a striker. He possesses excellent technique, natural pace and an eye for goal. On watching him for the first time, one automatically starts drawing comparisons to Robinho (who incidentally is also Andrade’s godfather).
The Brazilian first came into prominence after his feats for his country at the international youth level where he represented the triumphant Brazil Under-20 side at the Eight Nations Tournament held in South Africa. That competition though is not recognised by FIFA, so officially, he is yet to make his debut.
The Brazilian has the adaptability to play both as a forward and a left winger. Andrade is a joy to watch because he has the mutability and style that is required at the top level. All this is combined with superb technical ability.
Andrade has a brilliant sense of timing on the ball. He is very quick and his quick movement helps him in spotting his team mates. What is most admirable about the youngster is that he is not selfish with the ball like most young players who are wanted by top clubs.
He can utilize his pace and skills on the ball to create opportunities for his team-mates. His movement is something which is the biggest asset for the team he is representing. He is quick to notice where exactly he is needed for the ball to reach his way. The runs he makes are very precise. He is an excellent dribbler and his skills on the ball are a delight to watch.
For such a young player, Andrade’s mentality is also one of his strengths. For such a young player, one can observe that he possesses decent leadership skills on the field as well. He wants to work hard and do well for his team, resulting in him making a name for himself at such a young age. He was in fact, targeted by Barcelona last season, before the Catalan’s pursuit of Neymar.
Jumping in the air and dominance in the aerial region remains a weakness for Andrade and it can be observed that this brings down his game a little as an attacker. If Andrade gets better at this, he would become an ultimate package.
Andrade is only 17 and hence lacks the aggression needed at the top level. He needs to get more belligerent on the field to round up his game.
However, the biggest weakness for the teenager is his slight built. Standing at a modest 171cm, he will be challenged in a top league, especially the English Premier League. However, he makes up for his slight physique with his speed, technique and spot-on positioning. The fact also remains that Andrade is just 17 so his physical development has not yet stopped. He probably will gain a few centimetres in the future and develop his physique further.
“The boy is very fast, and was well positioned which brought depth to our attack. It was a beautiful goal. He deserves it.”
— Mauricy Ramalho, Santos FC manager, quoted by sambafoot.com
“He showed that he has plenty of talent and is going to be a great player.”
—Neymar, Barcelona and Brazil striker, quoted by sambafoot.com
Victor Andrade has sent scouts in Europe scampering after stating his desire to play in Europe. Arsenal has showed most interest in the signature of the young Brazilian but the richest clubs of England, Chelsea and Manchester City, are also keeping tabs on the young Brazilian. Reports have recently emerged of Liverpool and Newcastle United’s desire in the teenager.
Andrade has refused to sign a new contract following the expiration of his current deal at the end of the current season. Andrade insists the stories he has heard from his godfather, Robinho, intrigues him and have inspired him to pack his bags and look for opportunities in Europe.
He would be a welcome addition to any top team in Europe but perhaps is still a little raw to play regularly in the first team of any of the clubs interested in his signature. Out of all the destinations Andrade could head to, Arsenal is imaginably where he’ll benefit most. Arsenal need a quality signing and the 17 year old would be a good one for the future too. He would also benefit from getting a decent amount of time on the ground. More than he would get from signing with any other top team at the moment.
That is why, he should maybe stay put for another season. Santos is going to use him regularly in the first team and he would benefit from the experience he gains, and more importantly the time he spends on the pitch. A call up from the national side would be quicker if he starts 25 games, instead of being restricted to substitute appearances.