Éderson 2022: Why the Brazilian could be one of the bargains of the summer – scout report
In July 2020, Éderson scored his first-ever goal for Corinthians. Only 20 at the time, Éderson hit a powerful yet beautiful long-range shot to guarantee Corinthians’ qualification to the knockout phase of the Paulista 2020. He went on to score another two goals, one in each of the following two matches, earning the label of ‘the next Paulinho’ among the Corinthians fan base. However, Éderson never cemented himself in Corinthians’ first team and soon fell out of the picture.
Out of Corinthians’ plans, Éderson moved on loan to Fortaleza in 2021. With Vojvoda in charge, Fortaleza surprisingly finished fourth in the Brasileiro, qualifying for the Copa Libertadores. In a 3-4-1-2, Éderson was one of the most important and consistent pieces of this side, successfully reviving his career. After the season was over, Italian club Salernitana signed him for £4.50m.
Since making his debut in February, Éderson has regularly featured for Davide Nicola’s side. With 753 minutes played so far, the 22-year-old has reportedly caught the attention of PSG among others. As Salernitana look certain to be relegated, clubs will come calling for the Brazilian’s services in the summer. This scout report uses tactical analysis to examine Éderson’s playing style and characteristics.
Although he never became an important player for Corinthians, the Paulinho comparison was fair. Both players have very similar playing styles and characteristics, and it can be best categorised as the Segundo Volante role, with segundo meaning second and volante meaning holding midfielder. Often part of a double pivot, this player performs a slightly more box-to-box function.
Initially, Éderson was deployed as part of a double pivot in a 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, or 3-4-3. More recently, however, Nicola has switched to a 3-5-2, with a single pivot. In this structure, Éderson plays as one of the two more advanced midfielders. In either role, he has operated on the left side of the midfield more often than not. His heatmap in the Serie A illustrates his box-to-box nature.
His total actions map against Bologna further illustrates his positioning. The majority of his actions are in the middle third, but he will often adventure into either box. Both in and out of possession, Éderson plays a significant role in the middle of the pitch.
Éderson is far from that typical deep-lying playmaker who plays long balls and orchestrates the attack. In possession, his role is more discreet and further up the pitch. Of his 29.28 passes per 90, only 2.03 are long. A more significant 13.51 lateral passes per 90 indicate his role in possession. Often completing short and simple passes, Éderson is key in retaining possession and progressing through the zones. He is able to find key spaces in between defensive lines to receive and retain the ball. His technique, strength, and speed also allow him to not only maintain the ball but carry it further up the pitch. He averages 3.71 dribbles per 90 at a 61.3% success rate and 1.79 progressive runs per 90.
His pass map against Juventus illustrates his passing behaviour. In the construction phase, he plays more line-breaking passes, aiming to progress through the zones. As they enter the final third, he plays more lateral passes simply retaining possession. Although he is not a creative threat, his intelligence, technique, and work rate allow him to be extremely useful in possession.
As mentioned, his ability to find gaps in the middle third makes him very important in possession. Especially with a more free-roaming role, he will create passing lanes for himself and others. In the image below, Salernitana’s wide centre-back aims to progress through the middle third. Éderson finds a small gap in Udinese’s mid-block and receives the ball.
Éderson often positions himself behind the first defensive line. His movement and positioning allow him to find passing lanes and break that first line of pressure. In the image below, he receives the ball just behind Inter’s forwards. As the ball comes, he is quickly scanning the midfield. He notices the player to his left, and nobody to his right.
He turns to his right and plays the ball wide, where his teammate has a lot of space to run into. This sort of positioning and movement of the ball is key in retaining possession and breaking the defensive structure.
Earlier in the same match, he performs a similar action. He positions himself once again behind Inter’s forwards and receives a pass from the centre-back. Inter’s midfielders are not too far behind, so he will not have a lot of time once he receives the ball. Knowing this, he is able to perform a 180 turn with his first touch and see the rest of the pitch.
As he turns, his teammate begins to make a run to his right. Éderson drives at the midfielders before making a pass wide where his midfield partner can further advance.
Now against Sassuolo, he drops in to receive the ball behind the opposition’s forwards. He receives it and immediately plays it back to the wide centre-back who is now running into space. This simple movement and combination helps them progress into the middle third.
Later in the match, he receives the ball in his own half. While he wants to play his teammate further wide, the Sassuolo player is blocking that passing lane. Rather than forcing it, Éderson drives into the space ahead of him. This forces the opposition player to commit either to him or his teammate.
After successfully attracting the defender in, he plays it to the same teammate, who now has space and time to attack. While subtle, this intelligent move makes him more effective in possession.
Éderson is also able to break lines with his passing. Now in the opposition half, he is able to find his teammate further up the pitch, breaking the defensive midfield line.
In a more obvious scenario, he is able to break Sassuolo’s midfield line with his pass. His forward teammate drifts into a gap between the lines, and Éderson finds him with a crisp pass in between two Sassuolo players.
Recently against Udinese, Éderson assisted his teammate in the game-winning goal. In a counterattack situation, he was very intelligent with his behaviour. As he drives into the final third, the defender is initially blocking the player highlighted. As Éderson advances, the defender moves over to the other player, freeing up the initial passing lane. Éderson’s patience and perfectly timed pass gave Salernitana the win against Udinese.
Awareness and dribbling
Éderson’s dribbling is another effective tool in possession. The 22-year-old has displayed great strength and speed through his dribbling. In addition, he is both intelligent and technical with his actions. His awareness allows him to make good decisions and rarely lose possession.
The instance below perfectly illustrates this awareness. As he receives the ball in his own half, he notices the defender applying pressure from his left side. Consequently, he directs his first touch to the right, where is able to drive into space.
As he carries the ball further up the pitch, two defenders come along to pressure. His speed and strength allow him to maintain composure and protect the ball. He beats both of them before being challenged by the third.
In a similar instance, he receives the ball in the midfield before being pressured by Udinese’s defender.
As the defender approaches, a quick body feint and acceleration allow him to get past the defender and dribble up the pitch.
In the instance below, he receives the ball while being pressured by two defenders. He is able to correctly direct his first touch and accelerate away from the defender.
After turning to his left and sending the defender the wrong way, he is able to find his teammate further up the pitch and successfully play away from pressure.
In a similar instance, he receives the ball from the wide centre-back. As he receives it, Milan’s midfielder is immediately applying pressure. He is able to perform a back-heel-like turn away from the defender and quickly attack the space in the midfield.
As mentioned, his strength plays a key role in his dribbling. In the instance below, he dribbles into Roma’s defensive third. As he does so, the defender is applying pressure from his right. With his shoulder and body strength, Éderson is able to keep the defender off and protect the ball while maintaining composure. Serie A is known as one of the more physical leagues in the world, with very strong players. Éderson has had no trouble adapting to this physicality.
Defensively, Éderson is very good as well. Statistically, he averages 4.03 possession-adjusted interceptions per 90, 7.77 defensive duels per 90, 2.75 aerial duels per 90, and 7.41 recoveries per 90. His intense work rate allows him to constantly close players down and essentially be everywhere on defence. He protects the backline very well and wins battles in the midfield. In summary, his defensive presence is very significant.
Salernitana average an incredibly low PPDA of 13.95. Consequently, there are not many instances where Éderson has had to press high up the pitch. However, he has occasionally demonstrated his ability to close players down and cover a lot of ground. As the opposition centre-back plays it wide, Éderson sprints a great distance in a short amount of time, immediately and intesively pressing Udinese’s player.
Yet another example of his ability to be constantly present out of possession and close players down happened against Sampdoria. As the opposition player prepares to shoot, Éderson appears out of nowhere and slides in to block the shot and recover the ball.
Éderson is able to anticipate the opposition’s passes with great frequency as well. Against Roma, he reads the wing-back’s passes into the midfield and quickly intercepts it.
Now in the defensive third, he is able to intercept the ball once again. As Roma’s midfielder looks to find his teammate in a dangerous position, Éderson jumps on it and gets to the ball before the attacker.
Now against Torino, Éderson performs a similar interception as the midfielder looks to connect with the wide player. However, this time Éderson is able to remain composed and launch an attack after recovering the ball.
His tackling ability is also very impressive as he is consistent in the timing and intensity of his tackles. His work rate allows him to be everywhere, and he is never afraid to dive into tackles. Éderson constantly does the dirty work and works very hard to recover the ball.
In the instance below, Sassuolo’s player looks to play a dangerous ball into the box. As he is about to hit the ball, Éderson dives in front of the ball to successfully and cleanly challenge the ball.
As we have noted, Éderson’s strength is very notable. Out of possession, it plays a key role as well. For example, he uses it to win the ball back against Roma. As the midfielder drives at the backline, Éderson goes shoulder to shoulder with the player before successfully getting in front of the ball and recovering it. In this duel, Éderson remains composed and recovers the ball while the attacker loses balance and falls over.
Éderson’s willingness to dive into tackles can be once again seen against Sampdoria. As the ball is played in the midfield, Éderson slides in a scoop-like motion to not only challenge but recover the ball.
Éderson is a very complete midfielder, with significant roles both in and out of possession. While he is not a creative genius with great playmaking ability, he plays a very important role in progressing through the zones and retaining possession. His awareness, positioning, movement, technique, and intelligence are all notable qualities. He also has great strength and speed which help in and out of possession. Éderson’s defensive presence is highly desirable as he has a very intense work rate and is everywhere on the pitch. His ability to read the game and anticipate passes is as good as his tackling ability.
In conclusion, Éderson has consistently performed very well for Salernitana, quickly adapting to European football. Salernitana look certain to be relegated, and if so, bigger clubs will certainly come calling in the summer. Éderson is still very young at 22-years-old with a very low market value. With such a high potential, he could prove to be one of the bargains of the summer.