Ajacied Brobbey in line with Van Basten and Romário: ‘Now I sleep better’
For Brian Brobbey, the sun only started shining again toward the end of this season. Since the KNVB Cup final against PSV, Ajax coach John Heitinga has given the striker confidence, with four starting places in a row. In the last games against FC Utrecht and FC Groningen, he repaid that with two goals.
“I am relieved and happy,” said the 21-year-old striker. “Scoring is important for me.”
Not scoring is sleeping badly
Earlier, Brobbey revealed that he sleeps badly when he does not score. Between February and May, he slept very badly. It was a goal-less period of three months in the premier league. “Now I sleep better,” Brobbey confirmed with a cautious smile. “If you keep playing, it goes easier.”
Brobbey lives up under Heitinga: ‘If it’s up to me, he’ll stay’
In January 2022, Brobbey returned to Ajax after an unsuccessful six months at RB Leipzig with only 252 playing minutes in his legs. He was convincing enough for the club management and six months later, the Amsterdammers reached deep into their pockets (€16.35 million) to bring back the striker, who had left transfer-free, permanently.
The 15 substitutions in the premier league this season betray that Brobbey has not lived up to the expectations that come with such a transfer fee. However, the numbers also tell another story.
Best strikers ever
Despite the fact that Brobbey is not known as a pure finisher and despite experiencing a goal-less three-month period in the premier league this year, the striker’s numbers are downright impressive. Indeed, with his goals per minute average, he ranks among the best strikers ever.
On the ranking of top scorers per minute of all time in the premier league, Brobbey occupies eighth place with 23 goals in 2,193 minutes, behind men like Afonso Alves, Marco van Basten, Romário and Ronaldo, but ahead of Feyenoord legend Ove Kindvall and PSV club hero Coen Dillen.
This season, Brobbey scored thirteen goals in 1,602 playing minutes. With that, the Amsterdam native is probably not going to be a top scorer anymore. But that is not a priority on Sunday when Ajax meets FC Twente. If PSV loses at AZ and Ajax wins in Enschede, Ajax will have a qualification ticket for the Champions League.
“We are going to do everything we can to achieve that,” Brobbey said. “Getting far with Ajax in the Champions League is my dream. To become champion as well. This season is annoying, also for the fans.”
If it were up to Brobbey, Ajax would go for realization of that dream next season with coach Heitinga. “But I don’t decide that,” he adds. “He has done well, is very direct and most players like that. For us as a team, his arrival was positive.”