Jeffinho: the young Brazilian winger attracting Premier League interest by Calum Scullion
Name: Jefferson Ruan Pereira dos Santos
Place of birth: Volta Redonda
Position: left midfielder, left winger
Brazil is a country known for football players that have unmatched flair and dribbling abilities, from Neymar to Ronaldinho there is an array of world class dribblers past and present that have become household names in football, I’d like to introduce you to a lesser known player that may not have world class potential but has been on an astronomical rise over the past 12 months from playing in Brazils Serie D to starring for Botafogo and being linked to numerous European clubs, this is Jeffinho.
Jefferson Ruan Pereira dos Santos, better known as Jeffinho was born on the 30th of December 1999 in Volta Redonda, He played youth football for Pele Academia before joining their partner club Resende, he made his debut for the club on the 28th of June 2020 and scored in a 2-0 win over Madureira.
Jeffinho secured a loan move to Serie D club Gama for the 2021 season, he continued to feature sparingly and on his return to Resende he impressed during the 2022 Campeonato Carioca ( Rio regional league) which gained him interest from Brazilian giants Botafogo, he initially went on loan to Botafogo and was assigned to their B-team. He made his debut for Botafogo in June 2022 and instantly his amazing dribbling caught the eye of many.
His loan move was made permanent in August and he signed a three-year contract with Botafogo, Jeffinho made 24 appearances in the Brazilian Serie A this season and he managed to get 2 goals and 3 assists which is still impressive for someone that was playing regional league and Serie D football only a couple of years ago.
Jeffinho has one outstanding on the ball strength, his dribbling, when he is on the ball and running towards a defender it is a joy to watch. He uses a number of skills, feints and tricks from shot fakes to roulettes in order to beat defenders, he uses his great dribbling ability to create chances for himself and his team-mates and to make defenders look stupid.
Jeffinho is a pretty unpredictable dribbler in the sense that you can never really tell what he’s going to do with the ball but he will sometimes dribble past defenders to the by-line and then cut it back to his team-mates in the box for a shot on goal. When he is playing on the left he also loves to cut in and either look for a shot on goal or a pass to a team-mate in a better position, his dribbling ability along with his decent pace and athleticism also makes him a constant threat because he can create something out of nothing and he is also pretty good at moving his team up the pitch as he can get the ball at the half-way line and still have possession at the opposing team’s box ready to create some magic.
He also is pretty good at keeping the game flowing and using 1-2s and other similar short passes to link up the play and keep possession for his team. Jeffinho, like all other players, has some aspects of his game he could improve on. when he loses the ball he needs to work harder to try and regain possession as too often once he loses the ball he doesn’t chase the opposing player down or put him under any kind of pressure to try and win it back.
He is also very raw in terms of decision making, he sometimes shoots in a crowded area when there is a team-mate in a much better position or he will sometimes continue dribbling when he should have crossed the ball in or passed to a team-mate. Jeffinho could also improve his final ball/end product because often he will produce an insane sequence of dribbling and then play a slack pass to a team-mate in the box which is cut out by a defender or he will scuff his shot making it easier for the goalkeeper to save.
I honestly think Jeffinho will drastically improve over time and that he just needs more exposure to high level football to iron out some of those weaknesses and to make him a more polished footballer and I’m sure he will add more goals and assists to his game because he has the natural ability to get past players and once he improves his final ball he will be dangerous against any team.
Overall review and career future:
Jeffinho is a serious talent and a very entertaining player to watch and it is easy to see why there is already a number of top clubs interested in him, however I do think he needs a couple more years to develop and improve the rest of his game and I think he should stay at Botafogo to do this.
I do feel that if he moved to a European club in the upcoming January transfer window it could be a bit too soon for him to make the leap to European football, it is understandable that he is attracting interest because of his dribbling ability but he needs to consistently add more goals and assists to his game and he also needs to keep consistently getting minutes to improve and I think if he moved to Europe he may not get the game time he needs right away and it could halt the progress he has made.
Overall Jeffinho is a very talented young player and one of the best dribblers I have seen and I have no doubt we will one day see him playing for a big club in Europe, but in my humble opinion, another season or two in the Campeonato Brasileiro would really help improve his overall game and it would allow us to see if he can add more goals and assists to his game on a consistent basis.