AS Saint-Etienne may be only hours away from resolving their summer quest for another striker. Reports out of France have Les Verts on the verge of completing a deal for former Olympic Marseille front man Brandao.
ASSE has been linked with a handful of strikers this summer in their effort to find a solid strike partner for star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The search has included David N’Gog of Bolton and recently, Guillaume Hoarau of PSG. Inquiries into both players were dead ends for Saint-Etienne.
Brandao has the kind of experience and record of production on his resume to help ASSE. The Brazilian was successful in his stints with Shakter Donetsk and Marseille. A striker with good size and pace, Brandao is technically sound.
After helping Marseille to the Ligue 1 title in his first season with L’OM, Brandao was sent out on loan for part of the 2011 season in Brazil. His return to Marseille in January saw him score the deciding goal in Marseille’s Champions League quarterfinal leg against Inter Milan.
The following month, Brandao came off the bench to score the winner against Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue final. Marseille released the 32-year-old after the season in a cost-saving move. Marseille’s financial woes, along with the depth they have up front, made the decision easier for the club.
Since his release, Brandao has spent the summer training in France. He has been the subject of interest from ASSE and Ajaccio. It has become apparent this weekend that ASSE was the leader for his services after he dined in Saint-Etienne with the club president on Sunday.
What Brandao will bring to ASSE is a true second scoring option they sorely lacked last season. Giving defenses another scorer to worry about should shift some of the attention away from the gifted Aubameyang. ASSE fell short of a European spot due to the amount of ties and one-goal losses suffered late last season. Brandao’s clinical finishing should be invaluable in gaining some of those lost points for the Rhone outfit.
Saint-Etienne did well during this transfer season in upgrading their talent level by bringing in the likes of Cohade and Hamouma in the midfield. Coupled with the young talent of Zouma, Ghoulam and Guilavogui, Saint-Etienne have a team capable of pushing for a top-five finish. The addition of Brandao may be the key piece missing from the puzzle.