BRIAN BROBBEY: THE DUTCH TEENAGE SENSATION THAT MOVED FROM AJAX TO RB LEIPZIG
Playing for Ajax is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any young Dutch player and Brian Brobbey got that opportunity at the age of 18, when he appeared for de Godenzonen on 31st October 2020, during the Eredivisie’s 2020-21 season.
Brian Brobbey will leave Ajax this summer.
Overmars: 'We have done everything we could to keep him at Ajax.'
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) February 3, 2021
But for him, that was enough as he made a shock decision of not extending his contract with the Dutch giants and subsequently joined Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig, who have raided the market in order to search for a replacement for Timo Werner, whose absence was heavily felt in 2020-21 for Die Roten Bullen.
Brian #Brobbey is a Bull! ✨
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) March 12, 2021
As he prepares for the upcoming campaign under the management of newly appointed Jesse Marsch, FootTheBall is here to look at the journey of the 19-year-old and see what qualities of his can help Leipzig mount a title challenge against the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
EARLY LIFE AT AJAX
Born in Amsterdam to Ghanaian parents, Brobbey started off at a very young age at the youth system of Amsterdamsche FC, a club in the third division of the Dutch football pyramid, and moved to Ajax’s academy in 2010, at the age of eight.
Since then, the youngster had been performing above expectations in the age-group categories, and even went on to become the top goal scorer in the entire academy structure, not just once, but twice, in 2018 and 2019.
Just a few of Brian Brobbey’s highlights over the years. Two great moments added to the list. 💫
Since Season 2017/18 (for Ajax)…
— Ajax Youth Academy (@AjaxYA) November 1, 2020
His performances for the reserve team, Jong Ajax, in the Eerste Divisie, Dutch football’s second-tier, had prompted first-team manager Erik Ten Haag to call upon the then 18-year-old to feature as a substitute in the 5-2 win against Fortuna Sittard in October of 2020 where he managed to score in eight minutes after coming on.
The Ajax way ➥ Brian Brobbey ♥️
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) October 31, 2020
Soon Brobbey made his European debut in the Champions League, in their final game of the group stage against Atalanta, in which he played the first 45 minutes during the 1-0 loss. Since then, he made regular appearances for the first team not only in the league but also in the Europa League and managed to score six goals in 19 appearances out, only two of them being starts.
18 year old Brian Brobbey will make his Champions League debut tonight. So far he only played in two games for Ajax, Eredivisie only.
Tonight he starts in the biggest game of the season. pic.twitter.com/iDrQdd8Ik7
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) December 9, 2020
Brobbey had only managed to play 390 minutes for Ajax last season, but his six goals and two assists have got him a goal involvement/90 ratio of 1.84 goal involvement per 90.
HOW DOES BROBBEY PLAY?
Like his idol Didier Drogba, Brian Brobbey is a strong, muscular striker with raw speed and is a player who uses his pace to beat the defenders in a foot race or use his physicality in tight situations. The Dutchman is very active in the penalty area, as he tends to join his poaching instincts with intelligent movement and finishing ability that has seen him score goals at a superb rate.
When Timo Werner left Leipzig before the start of the 2020-21 season, the club not only lost their top goal scorer but also a versatile forward who could play on the wings if necessary. After one year, they have finally managed to find his replacement in Brobbey as his versatility is the main reason that made Ten Haag call him up from the academy so quick.
Apart from being the focal point of an attack, Brobbey can play on either flank, can play behind the centre-forward in the second striker role, or as an attacking midfielder, and link up the midfield and attack. During his youth days for Ajax, he mainly played as the striker in a three-man attack and boasted a pass completion rate of 78.8%, which is not bad for a striker but that could be improved in order to better his all-round ability.
However, one of the caveats in his game is that he tends to forgo his defensive duties quite often and lies uninterested in the middle of the pitch. And at a club like RB Leipzig with Jesse Marsch at the helm, who prioritize pressing the opposition from the front, Brobbey will need to improve that and also other defensive aspects of his game to succeed in Germany.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE PATH LOOKING LIKE?
As a client of the notorious super-agent Mino Raiola, one can be allowed to expect that Brian Brobbey will not stay at Leipzig for very and that his agent will continue to look for a move elsewhere in the near future.
For the short-term, however, Brobbey is certainly an important part of Jesse Marsch’s plans for the upcoming campaign in the Bundesliga and also the Champions League. Although Andre Silva’s move from Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer for a principal amount of €23 million might see the Dutchman get relatively fewer minutes as the team’s sole centre-forward, his versatility will be enough for him to get an ample amount of game time as the season progresses.
Brobbey, training at Leipzig’s training ground after his move in the summer. (Image Courtesy: RB Leipzig / Website)
There are also the cup competitions as well as the Champions League and Brobbey’s energy and pace can also be used by Marsch as an impactful option from the bench when the team is in tricky situations.
RB Leipzig, as they often do, have bet on young talent in Brobbey. He is someone who has the ability to help the club from day one, while having the potential to mature into a world-class forward who, with the exploits of Mino Raiola in mind, would fetch the club a handsome amount in the future too if they wish to do so.