Defensive midfield is probably the least sexy position on a football pitch, but if you can show your worth there, you immediately become priceless.
Finding a truly elite holder to allow for the creative players to strut their stuff, while also setting them on their way against stubborn defences, is one of the most difficult parts of the gig that is recruitment.
However, down in Brazil, there’s a certain individual catching the eye of some of England’s top clubs – Liverpool in particular – for his mind-boggling displays with Fluminense.
He’s so good, in fact, that he only needs one name. Think Prince. Think Sting. Think McLovin – Andre is already in an elite category of heroes, but his potential on the football pitch could rocket him to even greater superstardom.
Liverpool conducted a much-needed midfield overhaul this summer, waving of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson as they headed to Saudi Arabia and using their newfound riches to replenish with Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch.
That’s all well and good, but is there a true Fabinho replacement among that trio? Someone who can lock off any player in the world on their best day, but also take the ball in the tightest gap and keep things ticking over like an old diesel engine?
Not yet, but if reports are to be believed, the Reds could end up signing the man capable of filling that gap.
Andre has all the tools to become the Fabinho regen football desperately needs.
Born in Ibirataia, in the state of Bahia, Andre has been with Fluminense since the age of 12 and has enjoyed a steady ascent with one of Brazil’s biggest clubs ever since.
At just 22 years old, he’s already turned out 158 times for the oldest club in Rio de Janeiro and has quietly made waves with his combative yet clean displays in the heart of their team.
While he differs from Fabinho in terms of height, standing at just five foot seven, the two couldn’t be anymore similar when it comes to being annoyingly good at whisking the ball away from an attacker’s feet, sticking a leg in and breaking down an attack in a matter of moments.
In short, he’s an absolute nightmare to play against, but delight to play with.
Jurgen Klopp’s perfect cup of tea, isn’t he?
The thought of him behind a free-flowing Szoboszlai and Mac Allister leaves you with a lump in your throat. Sickeningly balanced.
Earning his first senior Brazil cap earlier in 2023, his stock only continues to rise – and it’s not surprising when you give him the eye test.
Not only does he have that wicked ability to read any attacker like a book and leave them clutching at straws and smacking the floor out of frustration, he possesses an extremely natural Brazilian flair in possession, flicking the ball from side to side before shifting it on.
What he might lack in height, he makes up for with tenacity, an undeniable technical ability and, crucially, an IQ that can’t be taught.
One hour against a player like Andre is enough to make you want to whack your boots on Ebay and never kick a football again.
If the Reds can get a deal over the line, they might just crack the code to the perfect rebuild.
By Mitch Wilks