Liverpool’s interest in André Trindade dates back to last summer when they attempted to bring the Brazilian to Anfield. However, Fluminense rebuffed the approach, considering it was mid-season for the Brazilian club.
The Copa Libertadores final between Fluminense and Boca Juniors was a global spectacle for Liverpool fans, with many watching primarily to observe André, who could potentially be Jürgen Klopp’s next transfer target.
Those who tuned in were treated to an exhilarating match, with an electric atmosphere and passionate supporters on both sides. But Liverpool supporters were fixated on one player: André.
In the Copa Libertadores final, André showcased his skills, providing compelling reasons for Klopp to consider him as a viable January transfer option for Liverpool.
Liverpool continue to grapple with an unaddressed gap in the holding midfield position, and André, a Brazilian talent, is now available for a January move once the season concludes.
Here, Sports Buffer provides a comprehensive outlook on the 22-year-old Brazil international who is being touted as the successor to Fabinho.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Andre’s football journey commenced in Algodao, Ibirataia, an area not typically associated with Brazilian football due to its remote location in the interior of Bahia. The nearest Serie A club could be found in the coastal city of Salvador, making it challenging for young talents to catch the eye of scouts.
However, Andre’s talent was noticed when he played as a center-forward in Gandu by local legend Beijoca, who brought him to the former club Bahia. His impressive performances quickly earned him an opportunity to join Fluminense, based in Rio, a significant 1,500 kilometers away from Algodao.
For Andre, this chance was too significant to pass up, even though he was just 13 years old at the time. However, the distance from his family posed challenges. In an interview with ESPN Brazil, he revealed, “The first two or three years were difficult. Eventually, I got used to it because I knew there was no other way. Either I fought my homesickness or my dream would end.”
Life didn’t become easier on the field for Andre, who had already transitioned into a defensive midfielder long before breaking into the Fluminense senior side in 2020. The club boasted a strong squad at the time, with players like Joao Pedro and Marcos Paulo eventually moving to Europe.
Andre’s path to regular playing time was initially hindered, especially during the first half of the 2021 season under new coach Roger Machado. However, fate intervened when veteran No.6 Hudson suffered a severe, season-ending injury. As a result, Fluminense opted to retain Andre to ensure they had sufficient cover in midfield.
Gradually, he earned more opportunities with the first team and endeared himself to fans by scoring an injury-time winner in a derby against Flamengo in July 2021, just four minutes after coming off the bench.
PLAYER STATUS AND PLAYING STYLE
At a height of 176 cm, Andre primarily operates as a defensive midfielder and favors his right foot. He often plays in the position just in front of the defense in formations like 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, functioning as the “number 6” in the double-pivot, even if he wears the number 7 shirt.
His dynamic and mobile style of play, coupled with his size, allows him to be agile and quick in dribbling while carrying the ball from the backline into the final third. Andre’s technical prowess on the ball is evident as he ventures forward, striving to be creative while fulfilling his defensive responsibilities, as indicated by his heatmap.
TACKLING, INTERCEPTIONS AND DEFENSIVE AWARENESS
What makes Andre truly intriguing is his ability to tackle opponents without needing to slide in on the ground. He possesses a keen sense of positioning to shift his body and avoid being beaten in one-on-one situations.
In situations like counter attacks, he employs his speed to catch up with opponents and dispossess them. This attribute is particularly valuable when his team presses high up the pitch, and he plays a pivotal role in defensive transitions.
Furthermore, Andre excels in tackles and interceptions, as reflected in his statistics. He averages 5.6 total duels won per game, with 5.3 of them being ground duels, along with attempting 2 tackles per game. His primary task is to win the ball and distribute it to a teammate or advance it himself. On average, he is dribbled past only once per game.
EVADING PRESSURE AND DRIBBLING ABILITY
Similar to Joao Gomes during his time at Flamengo, Andre is entrusted with progressing the ball up the pitch if no passing option is available. Thanks to his size and agility, one of his standout attributes is his dribbling skills.
Whether it’s taking on opponents one-on-one, evading high-pressure situations, or simply changing the course of play, Andre displays craftiness in his dribbles. Last season, he averaged 2.3 successful dribbles, and this year, despite a shorter period, he still manages 1.3 dribbles.
His compact stature and ability to use his weaker foot in tight spaces allow him to turn swiftly while maintaining balance and outmaneuvering his opponents. However, this is also where one of his main weaknesses becomes apparent. While Andre is adept at dribbling and confident in his ability to beat his marker, he occasionally becomes overly self-assured.
His tendency to trust himself to navigate past his marker with the ball at his feet sometimes results in quick dispossession, leading to fast transitions against Fluminense.
He is actively working on improving this aspect of his game, but he still has a high “turnover” statistic, losing possession due to errant passes or dribbles, as seen in the chart above. In 2022, he has lost possession 8.5 times, which is a significant concern for someone occupying the position in front of the center backs.
Despite his modest stature, Andre possesses surprising strength and has adapted to the physical demands of Fluminense’s defensive midfielder position by increasing his muscle mass. Rarely does Andre succumb to being overpowered or bullied in terms of sheer physicality.
While he may encounter challenges in aerial ball duels, when it comes to shielding and retaining possession on the ground, Andre is not easily outmuscled and rarely surrenders the ball, in contrast to other midfielders of similar stature who might do so more readily.
IDEAL FABINHO REPLACEMENT?
Inevitable comparisons with his compatriot, Fabinho, have arisen due to the Liverpool links. It’s noteworthy that Andre has spent more time studying Sergio Busquets, even though he humorously admitted to not selecting the Spaniard when playing FIFA due to finding him “too slow in the game.”
Nevertheless, Andre may differ from Fabinho in terms of physicality and playing style, there’s a belief that he could potentially make as significant an impact at Anfield. Andre possesses the talent and disposition to become Liverpool’s new Fabinho. The 22-year-old is characterized as strong, versatile, capable of covering the pitch, and still on an upward trajectory.
JANUARY SCOOP ON THE CARDS?
The decision rests with Liverpool. Fluminense is unwilling to part with Andre mid-season, as he plays a fundamental role in Diniz’s tactical strategy.
If Liverpool seek his acquisition, they will need to meet the €40 million (£35 million/$44 million) buyout clause stipulated in his contract for overseas clubs. Fluminense has communicated to Liverpool that they would be open to negotiations at a reduced fee in January 2024.
Liverpool’s need for a young, gifted defensive midfielder is evident, and Andre fits the description. Irrespective of the outcome, it is anticipated that he will become a fixture in the Brazil national team shortly.
Diniz has been designated as interim coach until Carlo Ancelotti assumes the permanent role next year. Thus, Andre is ideally positioned to assume Fabinho’s place in the Selecao’s starting lineup. He epitomizes the modern defensive midfielder, capable of performing multifaceted roles and unafraid of taking on responsibilities both with and without the ball. While there are aspects of his game that require refinement through coaching, Andre, at the age of 21, possesses immense potential. It’s merely a matter of time before he makes the transition to European football.