On Thursday night, Brian Brobbey showed the world why he is being chased by Europe’s top football clubs.
The 19-year-old Ajax hotshot came off the bench to score an 89th-minute winner to help his side gain an impressive away win at Ligue 1 table-toppers Lille in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash.
The likes of Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Manchester United have been linked. Considering Ajax’s history of producing elite talent, that may not be a surprise to most.
However, there has been a surprising amount of hype for a player that has actually only played 152 minutes in the Eredivisie side’s first team.
Brobbey has only made seven appearances for Ajax, spending most of his time with the Jong Ajax side in the Dutch second tier.
The hype around him feels different from most players. Perhaps it is because he is represented by Mino Raiola.
The notorious Italian super-agent seems intent on getting his client out of Ajax. He has advised him against signing an extension to his deal that expires this summer.
Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are in the middle of their fourth season as Liverpool’s first-choice frontline. They are all approaching 30, and many feel that it is time to make a change.
The signing of Diogo Jota last summer was meant to be this change. He was in the process of establishing himself as a first-choice forward before injury struck in early December.
Jota is nearing a return to full fitness, yet Liverpool still need another attacker in the summer, preferably a centre-forward.
Here is why Brian Brobbey could be that man.
Brobbey a low-risk, high-reward option
The first thing that you will notice when watching Brobbey play is his physique. He looks much older than 19 and looks more like a body-builder than a footballer.
In just 152 minutes in all competitions this season, Brobbey has scored three goals. He also has one assist, which came in the league. This means that he has one goal contribution every 38 minutes for the first team.
Yet Brobbey is also putting up good numbers for the Jong Ajax side. Unlike in England, the Dutch second-string teams play in the men’s divisions, rather than u23 leagues. So Brobbey has been playing men’s football in the Eerste Divisie for the last three seasons.
This season, Brobbey has scored nine goals in 15 Eerste Divisie games, 11 of which were starts. He has also picked up three assists.
It is clear that he is an outstanding talent.
Haaland has a release clause that kicks in in 2022, so he could be got on the cheap then instead. Meanwhile, Mbappe is actually out of contract the same summer, so could be got for free.
It makes more sense for Liverpool to wait another season and then move for one of these.
While Raiola may prove to be a stumbling block, Liverpool would not have to spend a penny on Brobbey this summer. He would be perfect to come in and play a decent amount of minutes in the 2021/22 season, before seeing where things go from there.
The Netherlands international could prove to be a world-beater and actually prevent the need for a Haaland or Mbappe, but at the very least he should be an upgrade on the likes of Divock Origi.
Even if the club did sign a superstar in 2022, Brobbey would still be a very useful option. He would only be turning 20, so would have loads of time to improve.
Brian Brobbey is going to be an excellent pick-up for somebody this summer. Liverpool would be very sensible to ensure that this somebody is them.