Player Analysis: Igor

Brighton & Hove Albion recently secured the signature of Brazilian defender Igor from Fiorentina for a reported fee of €17 million plus €3 million in add-ons. Following the Seagulls’ unsuccessful pursuit of Levi Colwill on a permanent deal from Chelsea, they found an alternative left-footed centre-back in the form of the Bom Sucesso-born defender.


At 25 years old, Igor is still in his early prime years and should slot in nicely to a Brighton side entering the UEFA Europa League this season and attempting to build on a successful 2022/23 campaign. The Brazilian is yet to make a first-team appearance for his nation, but a move to a well-run club like Brighton should help in that pursuit. The seaside club has a fantastic track record in the transfer market and will be hoping that Igor proves to be yet another shrewd piece of business.


Igor is accustomed to possession-based football and should therefore adjust well to Brighton’s style of play under Roberto De Zerbi. During the 2022/23 Serie A campaign, Fiorentina enjoyed the 2nd-highest average possession statistics in the league, trailing only title winners Napoli.


They also had the 2nd-most touches in the penalty area, also trailing only Napoli, as well as having the 3rd-most touches in the attacking third behind Napoli and Atalanta. Fiorentina’s game was predicated on retaining possession in advanced areas and regularly enjoying territory in the opposition’s half. This approach allowed Igor to show his passing prowess for La Viola.


Photo: FBRef


As shown by the data, Igor is a fairly high-volume passer and possesses impressive accuracy from all distances. He tends to be more adventurous in his passing as opposed to simply recycling possession with simple short passes. This makes him an important progressive tool for a possession-based side as he has the willingness and ability to execute more advanced passes.


He also ranked in the 55th percentile for progressive passes amongst centre-backs in Europe’s big 5 leagues, so there is evidently another level for him to reach, but the foundations are certainly there. This comfort with the ball will be crucial to his development under De Zerbi as the club aim to sustain success over a longer period.


Perhaps even more impressive than his passing is Igor’s press resistance. He has a high level of technical security and he uses this to evade pressure before progressing the ball. He’s very composed under pressure and a strong ball carrier, allowing him to gain yards after breaking the first line of pressure.


Photo: FBRef


The talented Brazilian is remarkably smooth in his carries, almost resembling a deep-lying playmaker orchestrating the midfield. His fantastic feet allow him to glide past opponents into advantageous zones. This will be another important trait for Igor’s adaptation to Brighton’s system as they tend to invite the opposition to press them in order to create artificial transitions, therefore defenders must be press-resistant and technically secure in their actions.


Above all else, Igor is a defender, therefore his defensive acumen will always matter most to coaches and fans alike. Fortunately, he’s extremely capable in this regard. Igor is a strong, front-footed defender, seeking to be active in advanced areas and aggressively press opposition forwards and midfielders.



Igor’s defensive statistics are particularly impressive considering how much possession Fiorentina enjoyed on a regular basis last season. He’s always prepared to step forward and defend aggressively, similarly to Lisandro Martínez for Manchester United. Due to Fiorentina’s high line and propensity to pin opposition teams back, Igor had plenty of opportunities to make tackles high up the pitch and he did so often and efficiently. This will translate well to Brighton’s style of play as they enjoy similar territorial dominance in the Premier League.


He’s a reliable 1v1 defender in transition — a situation he had to face a fair amount with La Viola and his strong physique gives him a notable advantage in duels. It must be noted, however, that his aggressive defensive style can lead to disciplinary problems on the pitch as he picked up 10 yellow cards and 1 red card for Fiorentina in Serie A last season. De Zerbi will need to temper this part of his game without sacrificing the qualities that make him such a good defender.


Igor may need some time to adjust to a new league and system, but he certainly has the quality to do so. Being in his prime years should help in that regard and Brighton fans will certainly be hoping the Brazilian allows them to forget about Levi Colwill fairly quickly. This is an excellent deal for Brighton, both stylistically and financially, and they now have a player who can immediately slot into their strongest XI and continue to grow with the team.


By: Lebohang Mwamuka / @lebzygold

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Steve Bardens / Getty Images