Gleison Bremer: Why the Serie A defender of the year is a target for Europe’s top dogs – scout report
In what is his third season as a regular feature for Torino, Brazilian defender Gleison Bremer has recently been crowned Serie A 2021/22 ‘Defender of the Year’, fighting off some tough competition in the process. The 25-year-old centre-back has impressed many with his consistent displays of defensive dominance, and it is reported that a move away from Torino is inevitable. The management at Torino convinced him to stay for one more season after Bremer requested a transfer in the summer of 2021 – a decision that has now benefited both Torino and the defender himself.
Clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham have been heavily linked with a move for Bremer, with other reports suggesting Liverpool and PSG are also monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, if Bremer wishes to remain in Serie A, Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan are all reportedly interested, with Fabrizio Romano even reporting that Inter have had personal terms agreed with the central defender since January. While a bidding war is clearly about to erupt for this player’s signature, one thing is clear: Bremer almost certainly won’t be a Torino player for the 2022/23 campaign. This scout report will provide a tactical analysis of Bremer – of what made him so successful for Torino. There will also be an analysis of some of his statistical data which will be drip-fed throughout the various analysis segments, to paint an even clearer picture of the man’s ability and how it suits his club’s tactics.
Gleison Bremer joined Torino for a reported fee of £5.22m in the summer of 2018, aged 21 – he moved to Italy, departing Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro. He is yet to feature for Brazil at international level, but that is surely now just a matter of time.
Bremer is right-footed, 6’1, and has shown the ability to play in any of the CB positions in Torino’s 3-4-2-1 formation. His speed and power in general combined with his composure on the ball allow him to carry out responsibilities both in and out of possession. His heat & position maps above give us a better idea of where he operates from week to week.
It is obvious that Bremer possesses an impressive level of defensive ability due to the fact that A) he’s a defender and B) he’s the Serie A defender of the year, but as we put his defending under a microscope and analyse elements such as technique, strength, speed, and timing, we will get to understand more about why so many clubs are chasing the Brazilian.
The first example above involves Bremer handling a potentially dangerous attack from Lazio, displaying great confidence and composure while doing so. The Lazio man is driving forward towards the Torino box, with his body position and angle of his run suggesting he is heading for the very corner of the six-yard box. However, Bremer waits for the perfect moment to shift across to meet the Lazio man, blocking his sight on goal and completely ending the attack with a good challenge.
The timing was essential here from Bremer – the timing of his shift across to block the sight on goal. If he shifts across too early, then the Lazio man has an easy pass to his central teammate who will have a chance at a sitter. Similarly, if Bremer moves across too late, the Lazio man has more time to execute a shot or a cross.
In the two-part analysis above, we see a further indication of Bremer’s strength in timing, but he also displays other strengths as well. His positioning in the first of the two images is sufficient – it may look like he should shift across to mark the highlighted opponent but doing so would too much room between himself and his CB partner to his left. In reality, one of the midfielders who were drawn into the visible duel should’ve been back to pick the opponent up. Once the striker receives the pass, his first touch acts as a trigger to press for Bremer.
The touch wasn’t bad in the sense that the striker lost control, but his touch was taken with his back to goal, rather than receiving the ball on the half-turn. But receiving in this way meant Bremer could step out of his back-line and press – his pressure pushed his opponent back several yards to dent the momentum of the attack.
Here, we see Bremer taking similar action to the previous analysis, just under slightly different circumstances. While it still involves leaving the back-line to apply pressure to the opponent on the ball, it is more central and is done so due to the lack of a deep midfield presence – Torino’s three-at-the-back shape allows for this from Bremer on occasion. Again a good display of several tactical attributes from Bremer, and also showed good speed and reactions in the process.
In this next two-part analysis, we get to see a real example of his tackling ability. As you can see in the first image, the Lazio midfielder plays a pass into the path of his teammate, with the Torino midfield left behind. Instead of rushing out too soon, Bremer holds his charge until the Lazio man has the ball in front of him – with the player and the ball moving at such speed, a change of direction would’ve been extremely difficult and unlikely for the Lazio attacker. Bremer steps out at pace and puts in a tackle that displays strength and defensive authority.
This isn’t a rarity for the Brazilian man – over the course of 2021/22 in Serie A, he recorded a success rate of 72.3% when it came to defensive duels. Winning almost three-quarters of your defensive duels is a solid base to start on – especially for a player who is likely to develop even further.
The list of weaknesses/areas for improvement for this guy is a very short one and they are weaknesses that will be improved with elite coaching and experience. On a few occasions, he has been caught out in a one-versus-one situation where a player with good agility changes direction, beating him for pace. He could also work on his aerial efficiency as he doesn’t dominate enough in the air, especially in a defensive capacity. In 2021/22, he only won 51.9% of his aerial duels – something he will certainly want and need to improve if he is to reach the next level.
On the ball
A modern defender at an elite level needs to be competent on the ball regardless of their team’s style of play. Some centre-backs need to be able to carry the ball out of defence, some must be able to execute a range of passes and break lines, and some must be able to just clear their lines and get their unit up the pitch. There is an argument that the best defenders are capable of adjusting to any style of play to suit their team’s tactics. Below is an analysis of the abilities possessed by Bremer when in possession of the ball.
This first two-part analysis sees Bremer being tasked with judging the flight of the ball well enough to position himself to bring the ball under efficient control. He manages this and is then picked out his next pass.
Bremer’s selection of the next pass demonstrates both his confidence and determination to get the ball forward quickly. In the position he receives the ball, many defenders may look to a close-by teammate or back to the goalkeeper for the next pass – Bremer fired a crisp pass into space towards his left midfield. This pass allowed Torino to get up the field quickly and launch an attack rather than simply retaining possession. Bremer brings this quality to the team quite regularly, evidenced by his 88% pass accuracy this season.
This next analysis shows Bremer’s ability to play effective passes that break lines and, again, puts his team in a position to launch a quick attack. Bremer, highlighted on the left in the first of the two images, has easy passing options all around him but opts for the more productive pass that bypasses a number of Napoli players.
In this final analysis segment, we see a combination of all of the aforementioned qualities displayed by Bremer with the addition of his dribbling being showcased at the end. He uses his trademark quality of stepping out of the backline to meet the ball before the opponent, followed by driving forward several yards until he reaches his teammate. He then executes a clever one-two pass combination – continuing his run once he’d played his pass into a more attacking player instead of returning to his original position. Upon receiving the return pass, he uses his impressive power to carry the ball past his marker, bursting into the opposition’s half. He also showed a good pace while undertaking these actions.
It is clear to see why Bremer received the title of defender of the year for Serie A after displaying an array of talents consistently throughout the season. He has been a vital part of Torino’s season, and they will sorely miss his presence when his inevitable departure becomes reality.
He possesses speed, power, composure on the ball and in defensive situations, brilliant anticipation, and awareness to step out and steal the ball, a solid passing range, and the ability to carry the ball – among other wonderfully useful talents. While there are some edges of his game that require sanding to become the finished product, he is already well-equipped to make the move to one of the mentioned clubs he has been linked with.