Bruno Guimaraes: Things to know about exciting Brazil midfielder

Bruno Guimaraes is a wanted man
Bruno Guimaraes is a wanted man / Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

The last few years have been a real rollercoaster for Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who has gone from a complete unknown to one of the most exciting talents on the planet in no time whatsoever.

Having shone in his homeland, Guimaraes sealed an expensive move to Lyon in 2020, and his stock has only risen since then. Links to Real Madrid and Barcelona have followed, and now Arsenal are monitoring him as part of their search for a new midfielder.

If you don't already know him, here's a quick cheat sheet for you.

1. He's no stranger to Premier League links

A late bloomer, Guimaraes didn't make his way on to the international radar until he was 21, at which point teams from across Europe started frantically chasing for his signature.

His former side, Athletico Paranaense, started receiving enquiry after enquiry, and two of the most interested sides were Arsenal and Chelsea.

Both made their moves for the Brazilian, as did Benfica, but it was Lyon who eventually convinced him they could help his development best.

2. He wants to play in England

Despite rejecting the chance to head to the Premier League, Guimaraes has made no secret of his desire to test himself in England one day.

"I have always said to my agents that I dream of playing in England, it is the best league in the world, all the matches are close," he told Fox Sports in 2020 (via GFFN). "Even when the team in first plays against the team in last, it looks like a final."

You get the feeling that an English team might not have to work too hard to convince him to join.

3. He's been billed as a future star for years

In the blink of an eye, Guimaraes went from an unknown kid to the next great hope of Brazil, and all the hype was completely justified.

A big fish in a small pond with Audax, Guimaraes had his pick of Brazil's best sides in 2017 and eventually opted for Athletico, whom he led Copa Sudamericana and Copa do Brasil titles in just two years at the club.

Out of nowhere, Guimaraes was suddenly one of the best players in Brazil, and the speed of that emergence has had fans talking ever since.

4. He wants the number 39 shirt

If a club wants to sign Guimaraes, they better make sure they have the number 39 shirt available for him.

The midfielder is wedded to the number 39, which was the number of the taxi his father used to drive for over two decades in Rio de Janeiro. Him wearing it actually started off as a coincidence when Athletico handed him the number earlier in his career, and he immediately fell in love.

It's so important to Guimaraes that he pleaded with Lyon to hand him the number even though Ligue 1 squad numbers usually don't go above 30. They had to get special permission from the league to grant his wish.

5. He's a hybrid of a midfielder

Guimaraes is an incredibly tricky midfielder to describe. On paper, he's a defensive midfielder, but he plays more like an advanced playmaker.

He's tasked with defending aggressively and recovering possession, but his greatest strength is his ability to turn defence into attack through both his passing and his dribbling.

The Brazilian is more of a box-to-box midfielder, but with the responsibilities of an anchor man in the heart of the pitch. In 2020/21, he ranked in the 98th percentile for tackles across Europe's top leagues, as well as the 96th in progressive carries.

6. He's an aggressive presser

Despite being his team's deepest midfielder on the team sheet, Guimaraes rarely stays at the base of midfield and will instead go hunting for the ball in advanced areas.

He takes his box-to-box role with pride and will press his opponents aggressively once he loses the ball. Guimaraes will start at one box and keep pressing all the way to the other until he gets the ball back.

It can appear a little reckless at times, but Guimaraes always seems to be able to calculate the right moments to push and the right moments to sit back.

7. He based his style on Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan
Gundogan is one of Guimaraes' inspirations / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

If there's one player in the world to whom you could compare Guimaraes, it's Ilkay Gundogan, and it turns out that's not a coincidence.

"He was very fond of Germany's Borussia Dortmund, who had a player named Gundogan," his mother told Gazeta do Povo. "Barcelona's [Andres] Iniesta as well."

Guimaraes himself confessed to his admiration for Gundogan later on, admitting (via Ligue 1): “I am a fan of players like Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane, I used to like watching them play. At the moment I like Ilkay Gundogan at Manchester City, but since I was little I have been inspired by Andres Iniesta.”

8. He's been compared to Fabinho & Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne
Some have compared Guimaraes to De Bruyne / Marcio Machado/Getty Images

If you want to know how hard Guimaraes' play style is to describe, just look at the fact that scouts have compared him to both Liverpool's Fabinho and City's Kevin De Bruyne.

It's worth noting that he's not a De Bruyne-esque creator, but those comparisons stem from the fact that he can ping a long ball across the pitch as well as anyone.

He can anchor a midfield like Fabinho and then spray the ball around like De Bruyne. It's about as complete of a play style as you're likely to find.

9. He doesn't score a lot of goals

If there's one potential weakness to Guimaraes' game, it's that he doesn't score nearly enough goals for a player given his kind of freedom.

His first 18 months at Lyon yielded just three goals, and he's never scored more than that in a single season. If you want a goalscoring midfielder, he's not your man.

Guimaraes does not advertise himself as a goalscorer, however, and is more focused on breaking lines and advancing possession. If he gets into a goalscoring position and can find the back of the net himself, that's just an added bonus.

10. He started a wave of 'Guimaraes-mania'

Lyon were understandably ecstatic to sign Guimaraes, and after a few months of watching his fantastic performances, the entire city was going wild.

Local newspaper Le Progres needed just two months to claim that a wave of 'Guimaraes-mania' had swept the city, with fans quickly falling in love with the impactful Brazilian.

The excitement around him was so big that there was a genuine disappointment when the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season was curtailed because of COVID-19, meaning there would be no more chances to watch Guimaraes ball out for a good few months.