Did you seriously think COVID-19 was ever going to slow down the transfer rumour mill?
The mill is churning out rumoured deals at an alarming rate and on this occasion, we’re delving a little deeper into the career of a man who’s reportedly drawn the interest of four Premier League clubs after a breakout campaign in La Liga with Real Betis – Brazilian right-back Emerson.
So, if you’re looking at yourself and thinking ‘who the hell is this guy?’ – perfectly fair, this was his first full season in Europe – don’t sweat it, we’ve got ya covered.
Here’s everything you need to know about the dynamic full-back, who could be strutting his stuff at a Premier League ground near you at some point in the near future…
Born in Sao Paulo, Emerson was raised over 100km away in Americana in the south-east of Brazil.
From a footballing perspective, Emerson represented some of Brazil’s ‘big boys’ at a youth level including Palmeiras, Gremio and Sao Paulo before joining Ponte Preta’s setup as a 16-year-old in 2015.
Appearances were initially sporadic before he enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in the 2018 Campeonato Paulista – Sao Paulo’s top professional league – where he played 14 times before securing a £1m move to Atletico Mineiro in April that year.
His switch to Brazil’s top-flight didn’t faze the then-teenager one bit, however, as he nailed down a starting job in the Galo’s backline for the 2018/19 season; eventually scoring once in his 23 appearances before swiftly moving on to the bright lights of Europe and Betis in January 2019.
2019 Toulon Tournament Winner
An impressive stint at Ponte Preta as a teenager saw Emerson earn his maiden youth cap for Brazil at the 2017 Toulon Tournament, where
Okay…this is a bit complicated.
The £10.5m deal to bring Emerson to Spain back in January 2019 was split between Betis and Barcelona
If Barca opts against adding Emerson to their ranks,
Style of Play
The Brazilian has taken La Liga
Playing under Rubi in a possession-based system at Betis, Emerson is given the licence to maraud like an Apollo-11 down the right flank and wreak havoc in the final third. This season he has three goals and five assists in the top-flight, with several of these contributions coming following a ghosting run at the back post.
He’s also physically and technically impressive. In possession, he’s equally adept at beating an opponent down the line with a powerful burst of acceleration as he is drifting inside to combine with Betis’ technically proficient midfield.
Emerson’s 6’0 frame makes him an imposing presence down the right flank and it makes sense as to why he’s won over 65% of his 69 aerial duels in the league this term.
Who Would You Compare Him To?
The Brazilian is far from the finished article and certainly needs refinement in some areas.
He can be a little clumsy on the ball – highlighted by 2.29 miss-controls last term and a pretty poor 79.3% pass completion rate this time around, especially considering he averages just 0.58 crosses into the penalty area per 90. He’s also occasionally caught out positionally, although his speed often helps him recover after a surge into the attacking third.
So overall, with his imposing physique and two-way nature, Emerson could certainly be likened to a less refined iteration of RB Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele.
The 21-year-old is certainly a prospect to keep an eye out for but would need to develop several parts of his game to cement himself as one of the finest in Europe at his position as his career progresses.