Links to Manchester: Who is the 18-year-old Brazilian wonder kid wanted by both sides of the city?
Brazil is the birthplace of many incredible football players and has never stopped producing talents that become big names in the game. A new wave of youngsters from some of the top clubs in the country is emerging, making a few youngsters heavily linked with the biggest European clubs.
One of these youngsters is the 18-year-old Gabriel Veron who shined with his performance for the Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras. His contribution to the competitions was key, scoring three goals and assisting one while helping the team out both in Série A and Copa do Brasil with 12 more goal contributions.
Veron’s ability to play on both wings made him a valuable addition to the squad and the manager Abel Ferreira didn’t hesitate to give him a chance at such a young age.
The youngster is now linked to both sides of Manchester and it appears that his agent and the Brazilian club have a “well-defined” plan for Veron’s future which they will follow.
The following scout report in the form of tactical analysis shows the qualities that make the player so valuable and answers why he might be the next Brazilian star to take Europe by storm.
Palmeiras’ attacking style of play and his role there
Ferreira’s Palmeiras have a rather attacking approach where they try to expose the opposition in different ways. They tend to use a lot of through balls for delivering the ball in goalscoring positions but also often rely on a switch of play for bypassing the press and creating chances. They do like to counter-attack too which is an additional weapon in the attack.
They do rely on the players’ pace and individual skills and this is where Veron excels. The youngster is used both as left and as a right-winger in 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1 formations, helping the team with ball progression and rotations on the flanks. Despite his wide position though he is not the usual winger who would constantly supply the box with crosses. He relies more on his partnership with the full-backs and having the freedom to stroll in half-spaces and the central areas too.
The 18-year-old made his debut for the first team in 2019 where he scored two goals in three games, showing maturity and securing his spot in the squad next season. In the 2020 campaign, he proved that he deserves a chance, scoring 11 goals and assisting five more despite coming on as a substitute in half of the games.
Veron showed unusual confidence for his age and immediately caught the eye of both Manchester United and Manchester City who have the starlet in their recruitment lists. He has been noticed by Real Madrid and Barcelona too, which is a testimony of his great potential.
Confidence on the ball and passing abilities
What makes Veron stood out is his confidence on the ball. Despite being 18 years old without a lot of experience behind, he never hesitates to take on his opponents, pass the ball despite the pressure or shoot from difficult positions.
The youngster has outstanding dribbling abilities which help the team both in ball progression and in front of the goal, allowing them to pass through different defensive set-ups. Veron never looks bothered by his markers and despite having strong spatial awareness wouldn’t hesitate to occupy overcrowded areas too, creating chances for his team.
The Brazilian’s positioning allows him to support his teammates from different positions. While his formal responsibility is providing width, he doesn’t limit his movement to the flanks only. That’s why he is able to send long passes and through balls who turn to be key for the team in attack.
He would contribute with crossing too but his key strength is cutting inside and providing more passing options as well as a direct threat. He does fit in well whenever the team switch play being both an initiator of these actions but also by moving off the ball to provide more options in the advanced areas.
Movement off the ball and pace
The youngster’s movement off the ball and spatial awareness deserve attention too. His partnership with the full-backs allows him to cut inside and occupy the half-spaces where he often moves in goalscoring positions and is also able to set his teammates up in such.
His ability to find spaces and to anticipate both his teammates’ and his opponents’ movement is very beneficial for the team. His movement off the ball often opens the passing lanes and provides more options in the final third.
The combination of his awareness and pace often makes it impossible for his opponents to defend against him. Not only he has a flair for finding these spaces but he would make speed runs outrunning his markers often leaving them in a numerical disadvantage in the box.
That’s why his movement is successful on a counter too. His attacking flair allows him to judge each situation wisely and either progress the ball on his own or provide a through ball to his teammates. His pace and occupation of different areas give the team a great advantage when counter-attacking. Advancing the ball through the flanks or providing passing options centrally, his movement always increases the team’s efficiency in attack.
Fox in the box
Yet, Veron’s most prominent attribute is his explosiveness. As mentioned, despite his wide position he constantly cuts inside and provides a direct threat which is also confirmed by his 3.71 touches in the box per game. That wouldn’t be possible without his positional sense and his runs to the box. While his position on the flanks would suggest being a strong provider and assisting his teammates, his key trait is threatening the goal on his own.
His movement in and around the penalty area is highly valuable especially combined with his calm finishing efforts. He would either enter the box with the ball, dribbling past his markers confidently or would make an off the ball run providing his teammates with a passing option and moving into a goalscoring position. With his 5.12 dribbles on average per game, he contributes to advancing the ball and breaking through defences.
His finishing efforts exceed the expectations and he scores with an unusual proficiency, anticipating the defenders’ movement and finishing off the attacks in the best possible way. He wouldn’t shy away from making flick-ons and shooting from difficult angles, showing his strong decision-making and judgement of the situation. His makes him very special having in mind his age and lack of experience.
While he is focused on his attacking actions, he is quite successful in his defensive contrition too. He averages 6.74 defensive duels per 90 with a 54.3% success rate while adding 3.08 recoveries on average.
As our analysis showed, Gabriel Veron shows a high work-ethic and maturity for his age and it is no wonder that the leading European clubs have him under their radar. While he hasn’t been tested in different set-ups and tactics, with his potential and natural talent he could be a great addition to many teams.
Hopefully, the “well-defined” plan for his future works out well and he is able to show his abilities on European soil as well as he is doing at home.