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Transfer Profile: Jefferson Baiano to Bucheon FC 1995

After having no transfer activity since the end of January, Bucheon FC 1995 announced their second foreign player signing of the transfer window on Friday. This player, Jefferson Baiano, has spent the last two years in Asia and looks like he could give Bucheon an extra edge in their attacking play. KLU's George Slade takes a closer look at the career of the K League's latest Brazilian striker, and how he could fit into the squad.
(Image courtesy of Bucheon FC 1995)

Brazil

Jefferson Silva dos Santos, known as Jefferson Baiano, was born on the 10th of May 1995 and started his professional career playing for Galícia in the local Bahia state league. He made his debut in 2014, but he only made three appearances before he left the following year and made similarly short stints for state-level clubs Jacuipense and AAD Vitória das Tabocas. In 2016 he would join Santa Rita, which is the club that he has been associated with for the longest amount of time. However, he only played five times and scored once for the Alagoas state club as he has spent over three years on loan to various sides. 

Two of these stints were spent at ASA, which gave him his first taste of national level football in the Brazilian Serie C. In between these periods at ASA he also made a couple of appearances for then Brazilian Serie B club Red Bull Bragantino, and he finished his time in his homeland with a brief loan spell at Santa Catarina state side Hercílio Luz Futebol Clube. By the end of 2017, three years of professional football in Brazil had earned Baiano 48 appearances and 10 goals. It was at this time that he took the opportunity to play abroad for the first, as he moved to Japan on loan to play for Mito Hollyhock for the 2018 season.

Asia

Jefferson Baiano's first season in Japan was impressive. Mito Hollyhock had finished the previous J2 League season in 14th out of 22 teams and had a minus three goal difference. With Baiano in the team Mito performed slightly better, ending the season in 10th place with a goal difference of plus two. This may not have been a dramatic improvement for the club, but it was their highest ever finish since coming in eighth back in 2009. For Baiano personally it was even better. Out of 34 league appearances he scored 11 goals, which was just one goal shy of entering into the J2 League top 10 goal scorers of the season. It was also a greater amount than all of the goals scored in his previous seasons combined.

Upon the expiry of his loan deal Baiano remained in the J2 League, this time signing on loan for 12th place Montedio Yamagata. 2019 would prove to be different to the previous season, as while the club improved their performance, Baiano would not. Montedio would finish in sixth on 70 points, which was enough to pip Mito Hollyhock to the promotion play-offs courtesy of goals scored. Montedio would defeat third place Omiya Ardija in the first round of the play-offs, but lose to fourth place Tokushima Vortis in the second round. Baiano would make 35 appearances in 2019, but the majority of these matches would be as an impact sub as he made half as many starting appearances as he did in 2018 for Mito. He also scored seven goals, which was less than 2018 but still enough to be his second most productive season of his career.

In January 2020 Baiano signed for Saudi Arabian club Al-Mujazzal, who play in the second tier of the country's football league system. In the second half of their season they currently find themselves deep in a relegation battle, but Baiano would not be the person to save them. He would barely play and departed the club for Bucheon FC 1995 two months later for reasons that are unclear as of now. Having already proven himself a success in East Asia, both Bucheon and the player himself will be hoping that this career move will be more fruitful than his time in Saudi Arabia or Brazil.

The Player

A big, powerful player, Jefferson Baiano's main strength is his physical presence. He is dangerous in the penalty area and a handful for most defenders. He is good in the air and at finishing with his feet, though is not necessarily the most skilful player. Baiano should not be regularly entrusted with the role of a lone striker as he works best when there are others accompanying him in attack. This was shown clearly during his time in Japan, as he was part of a strike partnership while at Mito Hollyhock, but at Montedio Yamagata he was most often used a lone striker. The goals and appearances in the starting eleven subsequently declined, though it was not a truly unsuccessful season by any means.

This preference in playing style should be easily accommodated at Bucheon as it looks like manager Song Seon-ho has been looking to build a strike partnership or a front three. Baiano could play in the centre of a front three that has Suh Myeong-won and fellow Brazilian William Barbio playing either side of him. Alternatively, Barbio could be placed on the wing and Baiano and Suh could form a strike partnership. Lee Hyun-il, on loan from Seongnam, could also be in the equation, either as an alternative partner for Baiano or as his direct competitor for a starting place.

Baiano himself expects to play, and upon signing he set himself a challenge of scoring lots of goals and securing promotion for his new employers. Bucheon have had a difficult time in this transfer window and have lost a lot key players, especially in attack. If his performances can match his confidence, then Jefferson Baiano could prove to be one of the most astute signings in this winter's K League transfer window.



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