Mateus Sarará is one of the latest undiscovered talents from Brazil to move to Europe to play football. Reports suggest that Sarará’s parent club Gremio from the Brazilian Serie A have agreed to a transfer deal with Liga Portugal side Santa Clara. The club from the Azores has been a popular destination for Gremio players in Portugal. Gremio midfielders Victor Bobsin and Rildo moved to Santa Clara in the summer transfer window. Now, Mateus Sarará looks set to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Brazilians by joining the same club. Let’s now look at some stats to understand why Santa Clara have been eager to sign this young defensive midfielder.
Mateus Sarará has been a part of the Gremio team since 2021. In the early half of 2022, he played in 11 matches for Gremio, accumulating 226 minutes under his belt. Later in August, he went on loan to Avai FC, where he played eight matches and scored a goal. Sarará is primarily a defensive midfielder, but he can also play right back.
The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats from this season in comparison to other defensive midfielders in the Brazilian Serie A. We can observe that the 20-year-old enjoys an excellent ranking in defensive stats like aerial duels per 90 and positioning. He also possesses an above-average ranking in attacking stats like shots and opposition penalty area touches per match, as well as in a couple of passing parameters.
A young, unrevealed defensive midfielder
The above viz represents Mateus Sarará’s heatmap in the Brazilian Serie A from 2022. It is evident that the player covers a lot of ground centrally in the middle third and the defensive third. The player averages around 10 passes to the final third and 1.4 passes to the opposition’s penalty area. He has access to a range of passing options, as he also makes around 5.9 long passes per match.
A right-footed player, Sarara usually plays at the heart of the central midfield as a holding midfielder. The first viz above shows the average area of the engagements and the type of defensive actions performed by the player. While Sarara commits most of his defensive actions in the middle and defensive third, he has also shown the desire to assert his authority in the opposition’s half. He can recover possession high up in opposition territory, as shown in the second viz. Sarara made nine high regains, including one in the penalty box that resulted in a shot. He is also capable of making quick counter-pressing recoveries as well as dangerous recoveries leading to a shot.
One of Sarara’s crucial attributes is his ability to contest aerial duels and win them. The benchmarking viz above shows that the player wins almost 63% of the aerial duels and ranks third against other players who operate as defensive midfielders in the Brazilian Serie A. The 20-year-old also makes 5.1 interceptions per 90 minutes and wins almost 52% of the defensive duels. This highlights that Sarara’s main strengths lie in his defensive characteristics.
What could be Mateus Sarara’s role at Santa Clara?
Santa Clara are currently experiencing a difficult and disappointing season in Liga Portugal. The team sits 14th in the league table, and if things don’t change, it’s going to be their worst season in recent times. They have struggled in their attacking department, and their defence has let in more goals than they can score. Furthermore, Santa Clara needs midfield reinforcements following the departure of Hidemasa Morita and amid injury concerns for captain Anderson Carvalho.
The addition of Sarara will add more talent and depth to Santa Clara’s midfield. He could replace or provide cover for 23-year-old defensive midfielder Adriano Firmino. The viz above compares the performance of the two players in their respective leagues. It can be observed that Vitinho has the upper hand in some stats over his counterpart, namely shots, defensive and aerial duels, dangerous passes, and positioning. What’s interesting is that the young Brazilian will have plenty of time to discover his true potential and develop at Santa Clara.
Mateus Sarará will relish his introduction to football in the Portuguese top flight at Santa Clara. He is a versatile player capable of playing in various positions across midfield and defence. He possesses sound defensive qualities, is good at reading the game, and has decent passing skills. The 20-year-old will have plenty of time to develop and flourish at Santa Clara and make a name for himself in Liga Portugal.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine