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There's only one club for Jean Pyerre, and it's not in MLS

Few players have been as important to their clubs for two seasons running as Jean Pyerre has been to Gremio. The 22-year-old midfielder and smarterscout young prospect has been right in the middle of Gremio's best attacks, and his goals have come in handy as well. Recently Vancouver ran the rule over Jean Pyerre before ending their interest. And indeed, he seems tailor-made for an MLS club in several ways. But we think his natural home is far away, across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jean Pyerre is one of the few players in our database with three badges at an MLS standard – he had his breakout season as a regular starter in 2020, with numbers that suggest he'd be a high performer for the league:

With strong attacking output, decent defending, and outstanding ball retention thanks in part to his phenomenal dribbling skill, Jean Pyerre looks like he'd be a force in MLS. He's no pint-sized terror like Yeferson Soteldo, either – he's almost unstoppable in the air on dead balls.

It gets better. Jean Pyerre is also an excellent finisher in open play and can score from outside the box, as you can see from these shot maps:

But Jean Pyerre isn't actually a prolific shooter; he's much more of a passer. His smartermap from last season shows just how far back most of his touches were on the pitch:

He took a lot of corners from both sides but rarely got into the box himself. In the left channel, he used shorter passes near the flank and then had more incisive attempts as he came inside. A lot of those attempts were successful, which is why Jean Pyerre has been involved in more and more of Gremio's most dangerous moves:

Last season the share of Jean Pyerre's contributions to expected goals from passing in our ball progression model rose to almost half, and he was involved in three quarters of Gremio's goals while on the pitch. That's a huge proportion for any player, but particularly for a relatively deep-lying attacking midfielder.

If we look for players with similar styles to Jean Pyerre's in MLS over the past five seasons, there... aren't many:

These guys are CAMs why can play anywhere centrally in the attacking half with an occasional eye for goal – sort of a "right place, right time" crew of experienced veterans who read the game well. Here's a side-by-side comparison with the top two matches, with link-up passing as the biggest emphasis for all three players:

So should Orlando be lining up a move for Jean Pyerre? Sacha Kljestan, now 35, left Orlando shortly after they brought in Mauricio Pereyra, who's 31. An injection of youth certainly wouldn't hurt the club, and Jean Pyerre is already operating at a higher level than either of the other two. But we think there's an even more suitable home for him.

Here are the players from Europe's top five leagues with the most similar styles to Jean Pyerre's – and we didn't find any from the Bundesliga or Serie A:

That's right, Jean Pyerre looks like a natural fit at, of all places, West Ham. Just check out this comparison with the East London club's two attacking midfielders:

Jean Pyerre is virtually a clone of Manuel Lanzini three seasons ago (when he had four non-penalty goals and seven assists in about 2,100'), and our league adjustments suggest he'd perform better than Pablo Fornals as well. Of course, David Moyes wasn't coaching the Hammers in 2017-18, but they have continued to use a player in a similar role. It's just not a role where Fornals has been similarly productive.

Moreover, as a smarterscout young prospect, Jean Pyerre appears to our system like a player who will continue to improve. So if West Ham mount a European campaign next season, will they want the Brazilian at the wheel?

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