• Bruma has signed a five-year deal with VfL Wolfsburg.
  • 24-year-old claims he is a "modern defender".
  • Will compete with Dante and Knoche for starting berth.

Seen as the natural replacement for the departed Naldo, Dutch international Jeffrey Bruma is eager to prove himself as he takes a second crack at establishing himself in the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg.

“I believe it’s a new step in my career,” said the 24-year-old, who signed a five-year deal with the Wolves last month. “I had three years at Eindhoven and now it’s time for something new.”

Rollercoaster ride in Hamburg

Wolfsburg may be a fresh challenge for the centre-back, but the Bundesliga certainly is not. Bruma spent two years on loan from Chelsea FC with Hamburger SV between 2011 and 2013. The 19-time Dutch international made 40 appearances in two greatly contrasting seasons as the first ended in a nerve-wracking relegation scrap, while the second saw the Red Shorts come within three points of European qualification.

Bruma missed just eight league games in his three seasons with PSV Eindhoven, who won the domestic double last season. © imago / foto2press

Back then Bruma was a raw talent, who relied too often on his athletic ability to cover for a lack of positional awareness. Now with three seasons, 129 outings in all competitions and two league titles under his belt, not to mention the invaluable experience of playing in the UEFA Champions League, the Dutchman returns to Germany’s top flight a more polished defender.

‘I’m a modern defender’

“When Wolfsburg came knocking I feel like it was a good decision for me to decide to join the club. My aim is to play week-in, week-out,” explained Bruma in an interview with the club’s official website. “There were other clubs interested in me, but the most important thing for me after three years at Eindhoven - three years during which I played a lot - that my next step afforded me the chance to play continuously.”

“I had good talks with the sporting director [Klaus] Allofs and head coach [Dieter] Hecking and they proved willing to put their faith in me. Everything starts now. Today is my first day at the club. What I’ve seen already has been nice and I’m looking forward to taking this next step. I’m a modern defender, who wants to and can play football. I’m hoping that we as a team will be able to enjoy some success and I’m hoping to be able to play my part in that. I also believe in the philosophy of VfL Wolfsburg.”

Bruma faced off with Wolfsburg in the Champions League group stages - both sides won 2-0 on home soil and progressed for the Round of 16. © gettyimages / Ronny Hartmann

Great expectations

The Wolves missed out on a top-seven finish in the 2015/16 campaign, but Bruma, who played against them in the UEFA Champions League last season, remained “convinced by Wolfsburg” and is keen to help ensure their one-year absence from the European stage isn’t extended. Following Naldo’s decision to join FC Schalke 04, the youngster has big shoes to fill at the heart of defence alongside either Dante or Robin Knoche, but is excited to be back in one of the world’s most highly regarded leagues.

“I believe playing in the Bundesliga is something special,” said the Rotterdam native. “Playing in Holland is also good. I was able to play in the Champions League and gain experience. The Bundesliga is one of the biggest leagues in the world though and when you get the chance, a chance that Wolfsburg have given me, then I really wanted to take it. Now I just want to achieve everything I can here.”