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Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Japan

Shinji Kagawa's contract runs out in 2013. Picture taken from Recklinghaeuser-zeitung.de

Japanese football has really come alive over the last 5 or so years. What once was a country that produced an occasional top league player has seen Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and many others become very well-known names within the footballing circles since 2010.

It is Kagawa who is the cream of the crop, a player who signed with Borussia Dortmund in 2010 as a virtual nobody for European football fans. In Japan he was known, having played for the national team already by that time. He took no time to win over the Borussia Dortmund faithful and soon whole footballing world followed.

His debut season was wonderful, but he is showing this season that he can take his game even further. His form in 2012 has been nothing short of fantastic and he has really been able to step up when Dortmund needed him during Mario Götze’s injury.

Kagawa who’ll turn 23 next month, is someone who most top clubs in Europe have their eye on and his situation at the moment is a bit complicated. He has announced that he wants to extend his deal lasting until 2013, but considering the fact that there is just a little more than a year remaining of his contract, Dortmund will have to take into account the possibility that some big team could make Kagawa change his mind and he might move in the summer.

Report on Shinji Kagawa

Personal Information (according to transfermarkt.co.uk):

Name: Shinji Kagawa
Date of Birth: 17.03.1989 (age 22)
Nationality: Japanese
Height: 172 cm
Current Club: Borussia Dortmund (contracted until 30.06.2013)
National Team: Played in Japanese senior, U23, U20 and U17 teams

Playing Information:

Position: Attacking midfielder / Wide forward
Preferred Foot: Right

Statistics For Last 3 Seasons (according to transfermarkt.co.uk):

2011/2012: Borussia Dormtund / Japan – 35 games, 14 goals, 9 assists, 2711 minutes played
2010/2011: Borussia Dortmund / Japan – 37 games, 15 goals, 5 assists, 3 yellow cards, 2835 minutes played
2009/2010: Cerezo Osaka / Japan – 15 games, 7 goals, 1 assist, 1 yellow card, 1120 minutes played

Games Watched To Make The Report:

1. Borussia Dortmund – Hoffenheim 3:1 (Bundesliga, 28.01.2012)
2. Nürnberg – Borussia Dortmund 0:2 (Bundesliga, 03.02.2012)
3. Borussia Dortmund – Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga, 11.02.2012)

Picture taken from sbnation.com

Analysis of Kagawa’s Performances:

2012 has been a great year for Kagawa and so were the three games I watched him play in. He started all those games as a central attacking midfielder behind Robert Lewandowski.

He seems to have a relative amount of freedom in the Jürgen Klopp team as he sometimes exchanges positions with Lewandowski even while at times also dropping deeper than the two central midfielders behind him. He also drifts freely from one side of the pitch to another.

He scored three goals in those games, including a double against Hoffenheim. His impressive performances made him the man of the match in my eyes in all of those games where he was clearly the most talented player on show.

Messi-esque dribbler

Kagawa is small player and this gives him an advantage when it comes to balance and he uses his this very well.

His dribbling and movement is very similar to Argentine superstar Leo Messi who he has also be compared with. He has shrugged off those comparisons himself, but they are not far off. He needs to show far more consistency, but in a single game he is very capable of being almost unplayable.

He is able to shrug off a lot of challenges, the ball sticks to his feet, he has a fast turn and his acceleration is superb, all those things apply even in the later stages of the game when you’d forgive him for being a bit tired.

It was this acceleration and brilliant close control that played a part in his goals. For his first goal against Hoffenheim, he left one defender for dead with a few steps in the box and for the goal against Leverkusen, he got the ball 25-30 yards from goal, sprinted past one defender and then stopped suddenly in the box to take out another defender before finishing with left foot.

Opponent defenders simply could not handle his acceleration as he constantly left them chasing shadows with or without the ball. He was always looking to get free and find as much free space as possible. His determination and work-rate also seems to confirm the stereotypes about hard-working and disciplined Japanese once again.

Coming back to physical side, the small stature does create a few problems. When he loses his concentration, he sometimes lets the defenders closer than he should and then he is weak against the incoming challenge. Playing in a league where defenders go through the back more often than in Germany could require some adapting time.

Another thing on the negative side is that he should challenge opponents with the ball more often. At times it is better that he chooses to stand off and look to block the passing opportunity, but there are moments when you’d want him to challenge for the ball and get closer to the opponent. He is fast enough to nick the ball away from an opponent if the opponent miscontrols the ball even slightly.

Good passing and vision

Kagawa is also an intelligent player. While he does an occasional dribble, he only does it when he has calculated the situation. You don’t really see him trying to get through a wall of 3 players, in such a situation he calmly tries to find a way to pass the ball to someone, even if it means going back.

There were at least two occasions in the box where he had a ball in a reasonable shooting position but with lot of opponents ahead of him. Many players would have blocked their brain from receiving any new information and tried to get the shot away, but he calmly understood what was going around him and rather than trying to squeeze the ball through the tiniest crack in the wall of players ahead, he passed the ball to a completely free player who opponents had forgotten about as they all chased down Kagawa.

His passing is top quality, especially quick short passing. He is also capable of seeing and executing the more difficult passes. He played a few incredibly well-executed through balls that split the opponent defence and were also perfect for the players chasing them down as they could take the ball in their stride.

Kagawa is capable of playing with both his feet, but when dribbling he tends to use his right foot quite excessively. For his size, he also has good heading technique. He might not jump very high, but he is not afraid to play with his head, giving precise flick-on’s or heading down the ball perfectly for a team-mate.

Kagawa’s constant movement and determination to get rid of defenders sees him get a lot of chances in the box and luckily for Dortmund, he is also a good shooter. He doesn’t have a rifle on his right, let alone left foot, but he gets his shots on target and doesn’t snatch at them.

What level do I think he is:

I think Kagawa is a top class player who, in this time with top teams lacking quality, could walk into starting line-up of all teams expect the two Spanish giants. But even in there he wouldn’t look out-of-place.

He could become more prolific and time will show whether his brilliant series of games since last December is good form or is this now the standard of Shinji Kagawa.

What level do I think he could reach:

There is not room for improvement for Kagawa in terms of future, but time will show how he reacts to new challenges and if he keeps up this performance level.

He has potential to be the player to build a top team around and will be interesting to see whether he will stay in Dortmund or go to some richer side outside of Germany (or Bayern).

I see in him a player who could score as many as 30 goals per season from attacking midfield position behind a lone striker like he is now at Dortmund. Or even better, he could play the so-called “fake number 9” role.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: 10/10

Kagawa is a young player with brilliant ability and technique. And on top of all that, he is the best player from a country with a very passionate and big market.

If he leaves Dortmund, whoever signs him and keeps him for a long period will reap the financial benefits even when he has been gone. And who knows, maybe with the growing number of quality Japanese players, that club could look to sign another Japanese starter to cement their place as number one club in the Japanese market.

Here is a player who is as good as the likes of Eden Hazard or any other young player the big teams of Europe are chasing, he is potentially cheaper (although more than 10 million euros surely) and his marketability is far bigger.

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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Big Reports

 

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Daniel Bessa of Inter (One Game)

Daniel Bessa scoring a penalty in a game against Tottenham in NextGen Series. It was consolation for Inter and Bessa who were trounced 1:7 in their first ever NextGen game, but they came back strong after it, now waiting for the semi-finals of the competition. Picture taken from: nextgenseries.com

Inter’s youth academy and scouting system has begun to produce and find a decent amount of talent in last years. Amongst the current bunch who are one step away from big football, one player seems to be head and shoulders above his team-mates. Not literally as he is just above 170 centimeters, but in terms of ability. His name is Daniel Bessa.

He was born in Sao Paulo but with Italian heritage. Inter noticed him when he was playing for Atletico Paranaense’s youth team and brought him to Italy in 2008 (if you can speak Italian, read more about the interesting story of his arrival here). He turned 19 this month but he has only broken onto the scene this season. He first gained wider recognition when he shined in few of Inter’s early friendlies, but he was eventually sent back to the Primavera side.

He has been the star of the show there, especially in the NextGen series where Inter reached semi-finals on Wednesday night, but despite that, he hasn’t gotten another chance to show himself with the first team and probably will not get one before the summer.

As Inter fan I had only seen him on limited occasions (one other full game before this game, some personal highlight videos and longer highlights of NextGen games), but when I have seen him, he has always looked as if he could and probably should play at better level than youth football. I thought it would be injustice to this talent if Inter brings in 1 or 2 new attacking names for first team without even trying him out. Even more so considering that Mauro Zarate is not offering anything to the team anyway.

However the game against Sporting in NextGen was a chance to check him out against a good opponent because Sporting had probably been hailed as the favorites of the tournament after the group stage alongside Barcelona.

One Game Report on Daniel Bessa

Personal Information (Transfermarkt.co.uk):

Name: Daniel Bessa
Date of Birth: 14.01.1993 (age 19)
Nationality: Italian & Brazilian
Height: 173 cm
Current Club: Internazionale

Basic Playing Information:

Position: Attacking midfielder
Preferred Foot: Right

Statistics of Last 2 Seasons (according to Transfermarkt.co.uk):

2011/2012: Inter (U19) – 12 games, 5 goals, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card, 870 minutes played
2010/2011: Inter (U19)  – 18 games, 1 goal, 3 yellow cards, 948 minutes played

Note: Not in this statistic are the NextGen Series games where Bessa has scored 3 goals and Primavera Cup.

Game Watched To Make The Report:

Sporting Lisbon (U19) – Internazionale (U19) 0:1 (NextGen Series, 25.01.2012)

Note: The game is available on Inter’s YouTube channel.

Daniel Bessa has been part of Italy's under 18 squad. Picture taken from: brasileirosdabase.blogspot.com

Game Description:

Bessa started as a trequartista in a 4-4-1-1 formation, behind striker Samuele Longo with a relatively free role drifting from one wing to the other. He played 72 minutes.

The game was even and dull in the first half, but in the second half, after Inter scored the goal, it was dominated by Sporting who were trying desperately to break down Inter’s defence.

Bessa played a part in the game’s only goal, taking the corner which was headed in by Ibrahima Mbaye.

Performance of Bessa:

Bessa is one of those players who you only need to look at to understand that this is could be a very gifted player. You would even guess his position would be a second striker or an attacking midfielder. He has the perfect build – short so he has a low centre of balance and also strong, which means he won’t be pushed aside when in possession of the ball or fighting for it.

For all his talent, there are still rough edges, few signs of inexperience and the usual issue of not really knowing how a player will react once he’s thrown into the deep, playing for one of world’s biggest club.

Physically matches expectations

As I wrote about his body-build, I thought he had the perfect build for an attacking player and he proved this in the game too.

To start off, he did seem to have pace and acceleration as well as a quick turn. Although it is not really part of his game to take on defenders for pace, he did not look second best to anyone when having to sprint. The few times he did use his explosion, it caused problems for Sporting’s defence.

He had strength and a good center of balance too, riding a few challenges, always able to protect the ball from defenders who were trying to force him from behind into making a mistake or showing too much of the ball.

If there is criticism then he, quite typically for young talented players, was not able to play very intensely. He was much more active at the start of the game and seemed to have a few lazy periods once tiredness kicked in.

Strong preference of the right foot

Technically speaking, the player showed to have very good skills. His first touch was quality and with the ball on his feet, especially first couple of touches, he was unpredictable, even doing one short pass by using the rabona.

His passing was good but somewhat hindered by the fact that he did not seem to have a very good understanding with Longo despite those two playing together for some time now. He did not showcase his long-range passing in open play, but at least his corners were dangerous, one of them creating the only goal.

But there are some technical difficulties – he does not use his left foot very much. In one situation it really showed as he tried to dribble centrally, but since he tried to cut inside from right using his right foot, he left the ball exposed for the defenders between him and the goal. As result he ended up losing it.

I’d expect more dribbling from him because at the moment, he either leaves the opponent dead with the first touch or he looks for a safe passing option (in fairness to him, his team-mates don’t offer a chance for good forward pass very often). I think he has it in him to actually take the ball past someone and he has shown this by dribbling 3-4 players in a NextGen game against PSV earlier this season.

He also managed to put his only shot of the night over the bar, but that was a difficult volley that would’ve been worth seeing if it had actually gone in. He received a throw in, burst free of any possible marker and smacked a looping shot straight from the air but unfortunately it flew over the bar by a meter or two.

Daniele Bessa with former Inter player Adriano who left the club shortly after Daniele arrived. Picture taken from: brasileirosdabase.blogspot.com

Seems to have character

To move to Italy at a young age and to make an impact is not easy. Even more difficult would be to become an important player for a team like Inter. But a strong character helps… and at least on the football pitch Bessa seems to have it. He is confident of his own ability and he is not afraid to command and criticise his team-mates if it is necessary

Still, at times he can do with a little self-criticism too, as even at his current technical or physical limits he is probably not pushing himself to the limit at times. His position requires a lot of involvement in the game, but Bessa, as mentioned before, could be a tad too static in some periods.

His reading of the game and decisions with the ball are still not ideal either, but I’d say motivating himself to move bit more and improving his left foot should be priorities number one for him in this next half a season if he wants to give Claudio Ranieri no other choice but to make him a first team member.

What level do I think he is:

I think Bessa is indeed a player who is possibly amongst the best players in the youth level in Italy, definitely being the best in this Inter squad.

In this period where Inter might actually need extra legs in attack with constant injuries to the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan and underperforming Zarate, I would like to see Ranieri give him a go rather than playing someone like Joel Obi whose playing level cries out for a loan move.

My gut feeling is and has been that once he can show himself for more than 10 minutes with the first team of Inter in a competitive match, he won’t be back with the youth squad. But it is not a disaster to be in Primavera squad either, it gives him more time to fix the flaws and with the Viareggio tournament and final game or two of the NextGen coming up, he will play similar age opponents who are on a good level.

For now, he is largely a player who is often only seriously involved in the game for few moments in the game, but when he is involved, something good comes out of it.

What level do I think he can reach:

If he can become more involved in what is going around on the pitch and if he learns to use left foot when dribbling, then he has all the tools available to even become Italy’s player of the generation even, assuming he does pick to play for Italy as he has already been part of an Italy’s under 18 training camp last November.

However for now, only way to judge him are the youth games and some friendlies against lower league sides with Inter. There he has always been top-notch, even if team-mates make it difficult for him to look good.

Inter might also try to see how he could play in wider areas in a possible 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation as there are already two young attacking midfielders in the squad, one of whom, Riccardo Alvarez, would probably always feel uncomfortable out wide.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: N/A

I’d say his realistic price at this moment, considering the level he has played at, the talent he possesses and the risks, would be around 3 million euro mark, but whether Inter would sell for that? I highly doubt.

Talent rating: 9/10

I might be biased, but every time I see him, be it in a full game or in highlights of Inter Primavera games, he just seems like he is so much more talented than everyone else. Natural Brazilian technique, paired with a perfect physique and strong Italian influence – unless something bad happens, it seems to be written in the stars.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in One Game Reports

 

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Lucas of Sao Paulo/Brazil

Lucas is a big talent who has been left in the shadow of Neymar for now. Picture taken from: sousaopaulofc.com.br

While Neymar has gotten most of the hype, Lucas has been largely off the picture despite seemingly having as much potential to succeed in the big game.

Sao Paulo’s young attacking midfielder has broken onto the big scene parallel to Neymar (6 months older than Lucas) whose extravagant public personality has helped to make him a superstar in Brazil as well as rest of the world even before he stepped his foot in Europe or played in a World Cup.

A player of his talent hasn’t obviously gone unnoticed as far as the European big clubs are concerned but the interest in him isn’t as hot as it is in Neymar. The teams who seem to have very serious interest are Inter and Chelsea as well as Liverpool.

He has already established himself in the Brazilian senior team, taking part in the Copa America in summer, although only as a substitute.

There have been rumors and words from his representatives that there have been some bids rejected by Sao Paulo, but I would take them with a pinch of salt. The asking price of his currently stands at around 30 million euros, however, according to the media, Sao Paulo, who failed to qualify for the Copa Libertadores 2012, would be willing to accept less.

Report on Lucas

Personal Information (data from Transfermarkt.co.uk):

Name: Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva
Date of Birth: 13.08.1992 (age 19)
Nationality: Brazilian
Height: 172 cm
Current Club: Sao Paulo (not 100% reliable sources claim contract runs until 30.12.2015)
National Team: Capped for senior team

Basic Playing Information:

Positions: Attacking midfielder / Forward / Wide forward
Preferred foot: Right (left also very good)

Statistics Of Last 2 Seasons/Years (data from Transfermarkt.co.uk):

2011: Sao Paulo / Brazil – 35 games played, 9 goals, 4 assists, 7 yellow cards, 1 red card, 2497 minutes played
2010: Sao Paulo – 25 games played, 4 goals, 4 assists, 4 yellow cards, 1858 minutes played

Games Watched When Making The Report:

1. Brazil – Argentina 2:0 (International friendly, 29.09.2011)
2. Sao Paulo – Avai 2:0 (Serie A, 12.11.2011)
3. Sao Paulo – Santos 4:1 (Serie A, 04.12.2011)

Lucas scoring a great counter-attack goal against Argentina, sprinting from inside of his own half after a pass was put behind opponents defensive line. Picture taken from: sulekha.com

Individual Game Descriptions:

1. Brazil – Argentina 2:0

This was not a usual big Brazil and Argentina game. This was the “El Clasico Sudamericano”, a two-legged friendly tournament between Brazil and Argentina, using the players from their local leagues.

After the first leg ended 0:0, Lucas was used in a quite attacking formation of 4-3-3. Lucas was initially shown to be a central midfielder, he often switched the positions with Ronaldinho who was supposedly one of the three forwards.

Brazil dominated the game and ran out deserved winners. Lucas stole the show from the likes of Neymar and Ronaldinho, being the best player on the pitch until he was taken off. He also opened the scoring with a good goal in a counter-attacking move.

He was taken off after 69 minutes.

2. Sao Paulo – Avai 2:0

Sao Paulo approached the game with a 3-5-2 formation (Lucas as a “trequartista”) or that was at least what the TV screen showed ahead of the game. In reality it was more of a 3-4-3 formation with Lucas given a very free role, he often switched flanks.

Sao Paulo was all over the poor opponents (who finished the Serie A season at the bottom of the league). The game wasn’t a particularly good viewing, slow-paced and with a lot of cheap give-aways from not just Avai but also Sao Paulo.

3. Sao Paulo – Santos 4:1

Sao Paulo had to win the game in order to have any chance of qualifying for Copa Libertadores for next season. Meanwhile Santos, with the World Club Championship ahead, was resting a lot of their stars – Danilo, Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso not playing for example.

As the score suggest, Sao Paulo played a good game against Santos’s reserve side. The win could’ve and should’ve been a bigger. But that didn’t matter as they failed to make the necessary top 5 finish anyway due to other results.

Lucas managed to score with a long-range effort with his right foot.

Analysis of Lucas:

I did not put much effort into specially picking the games on this occasion as I took the ones that I could. I had heard a decent bit about him but not much of his playing style as I have recently started to avoid watching the videos of players on a certain video streaming website to make up my mind on young players. I had actually previously tried to catch the Sao Paulo – Santos game live, but the stream was so poor that I stopped watching after about 10 minutes.

He was good in the two league games and impressive in the match against Argentina where he seemed to be near his best.

Amazing explosion and speed

One of the first notes I made was to continue checking his speed and explosion through-out the games because it seemed very impressive from the first time.

And it continued to be impressive. There are a lot of fast and explosive players in the game but not many are in similar class to Lucas. When he starts running he almost instantly seems to hit top speed.

It’s one of the most important parts of his game and he uses it very well, his preferred way to do it seems to be by luring defenders in towards him before putting the ball ahead into a bit of open space and then take the defenders out of game with his acceleration.

However it must be noted that he doesn’t require that much space to hit the ball into. He seems to hit into open space in a very calculated way, usually more than enough to get there and take the ball past the next defender who had come after the free ball. He does sometimes seem to run out of ideas once he faces more than three players because by then he has very little room and isn’t as light footed anymore. On some occasions he’ll have a calm head, finding a pass out of it but on some occasions he tried to take on the fourth as well and gave the ball away.

Strong and good balance

His amazing ability to pick up speed very quickly is impressive but he excels in other physical areas too. To be a great player in Europe just speed isn’t enough and for Lucas, there are no problems.

When you think of a fast player barely over 170 centimeters then you imagine him to be a skinny lad who cannot get into a physical battle, but Lucas is a very different story as he has very good balance and great strength.

In that way he is similar to Lionel Messi, although his dribbling style is bit less elegant and bit more explosive. Low centre of balance, great acceleration, good control of the ball and strong body build helps him come out of most challenges with either a foul or the ball.

Lacks in discipline or simply given a lot of freedom?

If there is anything that screams for a need of improvement then it must be the slight lack of discipline and “self-motivating” when playing.

I understand that in San Paulo he is probably given freedom to move as much he likes and given no big defensive duties but even then you could say he doesn’t try hard enough.

In Brazil national team game where he was supposedly the midfielder for about half of the playing time, he didn’t really get back too much although he did had some discipline by tracking a couple of runs from deep of Argentina in the first half. But all in all his defending was too minimalistic in all games.

Even the most talented need to help to defend in the modern game and that might be his big challenge when he moves to Europe as it is very likely that he is not going to be granted a free pass from defending. I wouldn’t demand him to go back to his own third of the pitch, but he does need to be a bit more energetic and intelligent with his defending.

What seems to give away his slightly slack attitude without the ball was the intensity with which he opened up for passes in the attacking phase. When in middle of the field, a player needs to work hard to get himself on the ball against teams which sit quite deep, but he seems to be more about waiting for the ball to come to him. The less talented players around him showed more eagerness to offer passing options to the team-mates.

While playing in South America he can afford being bit lazy against defenders who are often not that good or defences that are not well organised, but in Europe he’ll have less room and such attitude might make him disappear in some games.

Also he is not hundred percent ready to play big intense game for full 90 minutes as his movement starts to show signs of tiredness already at the end of the first half.

Tactical intelligence can improve

Connected to my criticism of him off the ball, his tactical intelligence is far from level with the greatest player in the world at the moment.

As someone who gets tired quite quick, he needs to be more intelligent with his movement. His tactical behaviour is erratic – for example for few times he decided to burst with full speed towards the player with the ball only to being left empty handed as the player had an easy passing option out of the situation.

He can position himself better in both attacking and defending phase as well as push himself to make those necessary runs to defence and to create openings for himself and team-mates. If he can constantly do them during a game, it’d increase his effectiveness to the team.

Also, he seemed like the player who always likes to go forward. When he gets the ball, most of the times he tries to get forward, even if he has to force it. A couple of times he ran into dead ends because of it and some times a forced pass or in one occasion a shot which didn’t come off well. He could do with a better overview of the pitch and more calm when on the ball but that should come with time.

Lucas with Neymar. Picture taken from: fanatix.com

Uses both feet with great comfort

Onto the technical side of the game then. The most important thing here is how comfortable he is with either of his feet.

When dribbling he takes touches with both feet and this makes getting the ball off him or knowing where he’ll move very difficult. Although he does prefer to move into the middle of the pitch as his main instinct is to get as close as possible to the goal.

Be it the right or left foot, the touch is brilliant and the ball is never far away from his feet when he is dribbling. Controlling the ball on the first try is not a problem for him even when there is a player at his back. Another plus side that his use of the ball is efficient and while he can do some brilliant things with the ball, he does no more than necessary unlike his compatriot Neymar.

When it comes to passing he prefers to keep it simple and low – they are precise and usually very well judged but there were a few situations in which he put the ball slightly behind his team-mates. When running he seemed to notice the very free players or a pass that not many would see and usually he pulled it off – be it a Xavi-esque clever pass between players to an empty zone or a difficult to execute pass against the direction of his run to a free player.

He doesn’t seem to get into too many wide positions so I failed to see him crossing expect for corner situations. He didn’t seem to have distinctive style how he hit his corners – sometimes low and near post, sometimes with a lot of height and to the far post.

The biggest questions remaining for me are his long-range passing and his heading ability because I didn’t see either in the three games. But heading is probably something he only actually needs once every 5 games in an unimportant situation. And when it comes to long-range passing, I predict that it’ll be good once I see it.

Didn’t have the chemistry with anyone

Usually a very talented player tends to find great understanding on the pitch with at least some of his team-mates but in case of Lucas he didn’t seem to have a player on same “wave-length” as him in any of the matches. He shined rather as a brilliant individual.

I never saw him build up a dangerous pairing with a team-mate who he feeds through on goal, who he exchanges passes with or who seems to understand his movement on the pitch.

Though the players he could form such pairing with didn’t seem to exist in those games, as people around him seemed to have a different playing style and quality compared to him. When he moves to a big team in Europe, he is more likely to find such team-mates. But one part of this is definitely down to his lack of tactical discipline as it is hard to know when and how he is going to move, also he needs to communicate more on the pitch.

Of other qualities, it is worth noting that he occasionally gets a rush of blood. He might lack discipline, but once he gets something on his mind, like winning the ball from a defender, he doesn’t stop until he concedes a foul or gets the ball.

What level is he now:

He is ready for a Champions League side in Europe’s big leagues and would probably fit in immediately in a very direct side like Napoli for example.

But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t fit into a team like Chelsea, Liverpool or Inter either, he has technical qualities to play possession football or constantly face teams that sit very deep too. But he might need some re-programming and take a few months to adapt to play at his best level. If he were to arrive into any of those teams in January, he might not break into starting XI immediately.

What level might he reach:

He can clearly become one of the best players in the world. There is a potential of Ballon d’Or in him but at this moment he is far from it.

Even if he is starting material now and technically and physically as good as it gets, the flaws I brought out are often things that could keep a player like him from becoming a very dangerous, unpredictable player into one who puts in a brilliant performance nine games out of 10.

I honestly think if he makes the right choices and has got the ambition to be one of the best, he can also become a better and more useful player than Neymar.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: 9/10

He is already worth more as a player than 10 million euros and the potential would make him great value for such money. Obviously his price-tag in reality is much higher but the rating system is as it is. For his proposed value of 30 million euros, the rating would be at best 5/10 in all honesty.

Signing like him would excite the fan and he has the potential to become not only someone who the fans love but also a fan magnet.

Initially I put in 10 for the rating but then I decided to lower it as he doesn’t have the immediate big financial impact on a team like like Neymar would for example, he has been on the picture for a short time and hasn’t gotten a chance yet on the very biggest scene.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Big Reports

 

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