RSS

Tag Archives: lucas moura

Deconstruct and reconstruct – what Inter should do

Before signing anyone, Inter needs to look at who he doesn't need in its starting line-up or in its squad.

Inter’s Jenga game has led the faults of the team to show faster than expected and a project of deconstruction is needed before reconstruction.

After losing by three goals to Bologna at home, Inter has possibly managed to swoop even lower than many thought to be possible. Seven wins in a row under Claudio Ranieri seems like a distant memory and what at one point looked like a possible Scudetto challenge has now turned out to fall apart so dramatically that Inter has got little to no chance of making next year’s Champions League.

Losses to Lecce, Roma, Novara and Bologna as well as drawing to Palermo 4:4 at home, have led to dissatisfaction within the Inter fans and almost all of the disappointed has deservedly been vented at the management, more specifically towards Massimo Moratti and to lesser extent, the technical director Marco Branca, the former player, who has gotten a bit of a reputation within the Nerazzurri faithful for literally going on holiday during the middle of the summer market period.

Inter’s mishaps have been caused by years of mismanagement that has led the club to a situation of being forced to play Jenga game. Take out Samuel Eto’o and the tower is starting to shake, take out Thiago Motta and the tower collapsed.

You could excuse Inter management for selling them, I would’ve done the same in their situation – the offer for Eto’o was in all honesty too good to refuse and Motta was begging to leave. As addition, in case of Motta, Inter bought an interesting replacement in Fredy Guarin, but this is where the praise ends.

Already when speaking of Guarin, I don’t think he is actually capable of filling Motta’s shoes, rather he is someone who would be a good partner for a player just like Motta.

Football is not a Jenga game which you should play until the tower collapses and then start over, in football you can get new pieces which you don’t have to put on top of the tower but rather into the empty spaces below. You don’t necessarily need to put them into the place where you took out Eto’o or Motta. You need to put them into places which make the tower stronger. Inter has failed to sign anyone over last two years that makes the core of the team stronger, rather they’ve been adding new pieces on top of the tower, further destabilising their tower.

The game of Inter has been missing the two because they and Sneijder were the only class players who want to inject and are capable of injecting pace into Inter’s game, they want to go forward and not wait around. Something the current side can be described with is lack of urgency – in last games they have always been almost walking pace with passing, movement, taking throw-ins and so on. That is until they’ve managed to fall behind after a defensive mistake. Only after that do they start to push hard, but by that time it is too late as the opponent has parked the bus and Inter’s attacks looks toothless, with the only hope being that Sneijder can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Inter needs to deconstruct

Now, casting aside the Jenga-tower analogies to explain the management of the squad and moving to practical matters regarding the future. What stands ahead for Inter is a period of reconstruction, but before that, the current team needs to be deconstructed to its very core. All sentimentality must be cast aside except for players like Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito, who could be given a role in the squad for their past achievements and their importance to the team as whole, but under no circumstances a guaranteed place in the starting line-up.

When we look at the goalkeeping position then one feels that this is the position where there is no need to panic with Julio Cesar not really to blame for the crisis. He still has to ask from himself: “Am I doing everything possible to command the defence ahead of me?” Besides him, Inter still has 50% of Emiliano Viviano and promising goalkeeper Francesco Bardi is currently playing on loan in Serie B.

Now moving on to defence and the frailties start. Maicon is the player who has gotten off with the least blame in comparison to what he deserves in this crisis. His contribution to the team this season has been very minimal and seems to be the example of bad ageing. These days, all he has to offer to the team are his crosses – in attack he struggles to get past anyone and this powerful running was a big part of his playing style. Also when I’d say his decision-making and passing has been poor, I’d be being generous. And on top of all that, he struggles to get back to defence. He is a player that can be sold for decent money while getting rid of a good chunk of wage.

In central defence the old heads of Lucio and Walter Samuel have also began to show the old legs and without the Argentine, the defence falls apart completely. Together, those two are reasonable but they need a lot of help and cover from the midfield and take one of them out, replace with someone else, and it is a disaster.

Speaking of the young players, the project of Andrea Ranocchia seems to be heading towards disaster and the stories about new signing Juan Jesus are ones about a tactically very incomplete defender. Judging by how Inter’s coaching staff has failed to improve Ranocchia, it is a claim that causes worry for those hoping that Juan will become a very good defender. From other potential central defenders, both Cristian Chivu and Ivan Cordoba will leave in the summer.

At left-back Yuto Nagatomo is a player who offers a lot in attack and a lot of heart in defence, but with him, the defence looks even less solid because it seems as if he still lacks intelligence in defence and possibly physicality too.

In midfield things are very complicated. Assuming Inter wants to play with 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 in the future (because it is the preferred formation in modern football), there are some doubts whether there is anyone in this team who is currently capable of playing the role of a pure central midfielder or defensive midfielder at high level.

I doubt january signing Angelo Palombo will be signed on a permanent basis and Dejan Stankovic will be leaving too. That leaves Joel Obi, Esteban Cambiasso, Andrea Poli, Javier Zanetti and Fredy Guarin. Joel Obi is clearly not capable of playing at this level for now as for me he is a good example of a player running around and having no idea about what he is doing.  He needed to be loaned out during the January window.

Cambiasso is not capable of providing both offensive and defensive contribution at the same time and he is not the best passer of the ball. Javier Zanetti is simply not a midfielder and although he always plays a reasonable game, he should be kept away from midfield as he is far too reserved and cautious for that role. The duo started also against Bologna and they clearly offer a little threat in terms of attack from midfield and while trying to attack, they leave spaces they are uncapable of covering in defence.

On the positive side for the Nerazzurri, Andrea Poli has been one of the only bright spots in this time of crisis for Inter and Fredy Guarin is yet to show himself. Inter might let one of those leave after the loan deal expires in summer, but sending Poli away looks unlikely and Guarin will probably be good enough too.

When looking higher into midfield, Wesley Sneijder is still a class player and Riccardo Alvarez has a lot of talent.

Attack is a big problem. There is no player really capable of playing on the wide forward position and this is a huge problem for any team trying to play decent football unless you have a someone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic upfront and a midfield capable of covering a lot of ground.

When looking at this season’s arrivals then I’d start with Diego Forlan whose first season has been ruined by injuries. Should a good offer arrive, Inter should let him go as signing him was a mystery for me in the first place, although I expected him to stay fit and be better when playing. Mauro Zarate will certain leave once his loan deal is over after showing incapability of improving his poor decision-making and tactical discipline.

Talking about the younger players, sending Coutinho out on loan to Espanyol was a very bad move in short-term as he is one of the few with tool-kit to play wide, Luc Castaignos is a very talented forward whose going to fit very well into a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation (only as the central forward) and young Davide Faraoni, who used to be a defender, is showing promise out wide.

Of the two older central forwards, Diego Milito looks to have discovered his form and age effect on the physical side of his game is not that important, therefore he should be capable of carrying this attack as striker for one or maybe even two more seasons. However Giampaolo Pazzini is someone who is very ill-equipped to start in a big team – his role should be that of an impact sub, the guy you throw on as extra striker when you need a goal or when you have the opponent pushed into their box. All around, his stamina is poor, he is quite slow, not very impressive technically and lacking vision as well as passing ability.

And before starting with reconstructing the squad, it is quite clear that in summer Claudio Ranieri will (have to) leave unless he produces a miracle in the Champions League or in Serie A. Even with all the problems caused by the management, he has once again ended up showing that he lacks something to really control a big team. It is inexcusable for him to lose to the likes of Lecce, Novara and Bologna in space of one month even with the handicapped squad he has, even more so after he himself had shown that those players can win.

The reconstruction phase – manager

The four or five names that should be in the heads of Inter management for the role of the manager are Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Andre Villas-Boas, Francesco Guidolin and Fabio Capello. Minus Guidolin, it is not even guaranteed that any of those targets are available or would want to come, but it is possible that at least one of the three formerly mentioned guys would be open to the challenge in summer. A very brilliant option would be Cesare Prandelli, but barring an incredible flop by Italy in the Euro 2012, he will not be available.

The obvious preference of Moratti and Inter fans would be getting back Mourinho if there was any chance of it, but from the five above, it is Guardiola who could be the best option because this team needs more than the injection of life Mourinho could offer, it needs to build a team that will not collapse should it manager leave and that is not expecting to win every trophy it hunts in the first season. Pep has shown in Barcelona that he is a smart manager who is open to new ideas and capable of embedding young players. It is clear that he is also hungry to prove himself outside of Barca and Inter would be a perfect test of his ability if they can offer him the support in the market, the interest of both parties to reach a union in the future is also something that has figured in the European media for a couple of years now. However he is still considering a contract extension from Barca.

The options of Mourinho and Guardiola would probably be the best, but not necessarily because of their ability but because they are one of the few managers who’d get free hands in making changes within the team. Other managers shouldn’t have such restraints, but the reality of how Inter works is like that.

Of others, Villas-Boas is familiar with the surroundings at Inter and the players and is probably the most likely of all the five options because as things stand, Chelsea might very well cast him aside in the summer even if Roman Abramovich has supported him. His struggle during the first season in Premier League is something Inter has to take into account, but Inter would be a slightly different project and building more from the ground up and with less initial expectations than Chelsea. The issues within the squad are much more clearer to the directors and even more so to the fans, because of that Inter’s management cannot expect people to look the other way just by hiring a top class manager.

The idea of Guidolin hasn’t been tossed around much, but when studying his CV, there are a couple of bumps along the road as you’d expect from a well-travelled manager, but overall picture is very good and in Udinese he has shown great capability to fit his squad to the players he has, changing his style if necessary and creating a compact unit without requiring much time. He is someone who definitely deserves a chance at a big team eventually.

Option of Capello is something that Moratti has wanted for years and he is another one whose opinion would be taken into consideration at similar level to the one of Guardiola and Mourinho. And on top of that, he is brilliant at getting the results in the league. On other side of the coin, there would probably be some second thoughts from Inter management when actually putting a team together for him as expecting Capello to stay for the long run is very optimistic.

The reconstruction phase – players

To reconstruct the team, Moratti will once again be forced to find a way to invest his own money into club, but the fact, that the club cannot buy without going into red, is a caused by the lazy financial management of the team and Moratti will have to face the consequences of his own lack of action in the past or choose the way of club backing down from the big game for at least a few years in hope of building a side through the academy and raw talents.

When you looking at the current side, only Julio Cesar, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito of the best starting line up are the one’s who I’d consider as starting material for next season. That pretty much says that the current back-bone of the team is very fragile. Javier Zanetti could still play, but he should be a left-back or a right-back and there needs to be a manager with the balls to bench him if there are better options. Then there are the likes of Lucio, Walter Samuel and Esteban Cambiasso who still have something to offer if the new coach manages to create a solid unit, but they need to be very heavily assessed.

The likes of Andrea Poli and Fredy Guarin could be tried together in midfield at some point this season and also both should get a chance to play alongside Cambiasso in a midfield duo with Cambiasso as a pure defensive midfielder to see how he does and how the defence behind them does.

The young defenders like Andrea Ranocchia and Juan cannot be managed like every other squad member, the coaches need to make an extra effort to prepare and improve those players, most importantly their intelligence on the football pitch. Something Mauro Tassotti does with defenders in Milan very well. Same can be said about Yuto Nagatomo defensive abilities, because currently the tactical instability his inclusion creates almost outweighs what he offers in attack.

The young attacking players like Davide Faraoni, Coutinho, Riccardo Alvarez and Luc Castaignos should be a part of the team but not integral parts of it for now. Maybe someone like Mourinho could also turn the very raw potential of Joel Obi into something useful. In youth team there is the attacking midfield talent of Daniel Bessa that definitely needs to be looked into and Giampaolo Pazzini is a decent substitute to have.

When counting all those outfield players together, there are two full-backs, four central defenders, three central midfielders plus Obi, five attacking midfielders/wide players and three centre forwards. It has to be noted of course that Maicon will probably stay and Diego Forlan too, but overall, the situation of what Inter needs does not change. They offer extra options in already covered areas where we can improve with or without them.

Full-back situation: There is a need for a starting quality full-back with the best possible immediate impact solution being a pair of Javier Zanetti and a new, good right-back or left-back. There has been talk of Aleksandar Kolarov and Mauricio Isla, but the later has also shown to be great in central midfield this season. The option of Isla is something that has interested Inter for a long time and having him replace Maicon in starting line-up would be a good move. I would bring in Isla and use Javier Zanetti as left-back while assessing how Yuto Nagatomo improves in defensive department before going in for a left-back.

Centre-back situation: A player who could start at top-level is probably needed, but the difficult part is finding one that fits with who we have in this team. Someone with intelligence, physical presence and no non-sense type of defending is needed, someone similar to Andrea Barzagli, who has become an important cog in the Juventus team this season.

Central midfield situation: The pairing of Poli and Guarin is interesting, but in my opinion the midfield would benefit most from someone who can replace Motta’s passing ability and who can get the ball moving forward quickly. It wouldn’t hurt the Inter management to see if Nuri Sahin is available for a decent price in the summer as he is clearly struggling to get playing time in Real Madrid. The other option is to get a player who has great work-rate, physical abilities and who offers good defensive intelligence with decent passing ability (someone in the style of Yaya Toure) and pair him up with a similar player.

Attacking situation: The attacking midfield position is set with Wesley Sneijder, should he stay. There are also Riccardo Alvarez, Daniel Bessa and Coutinho who have the talent to become great playmakers but need guidance, patience and time. Coutinho can also offer an option out wide and so could Bessa. The striker position is also set, especially when Diego Forlan stays.

But there is still need for players capable of playing out wide and this is where another long time target Ezequiel Lavezzi is almost the perfect man for the job. Lucas Moura could also be brought in for the other side for not necessarily immediate impact. But whatever is done a payer of proven quality like Lavezzi is a must.

One other player who could be brought in (back) is Goran Pandev who in fairness is a good supporting player. If you expect him to carry the team then you are in for a bad surprise, but when is the second or third act in a counter-attacking team, his work-rate and running ability, paired with tactical discipline and reasonable technical side, makes him a good asset whose contribution might not be very obvious but it’s still there. His second season in Inter was not easy, but he is playing well again in Napoli. However, it does look likely that Napoli will buy him on permanent basis, or at least they should if they have the option.

Inter must accept that in order to build a team with a long future and a team which can be succesful already during next season, they might be forced to find a way to spend roughly 20 million euros on defence, another 10 to 15 in midfield and 25 to 50 million in attack to get in one top class wide forward and maybe a dazzling, more unpredictable young talent with potential for becoming the commercial face and fan magnet of Inter.

Bit of that spending could be recouped by sales and also by cutting the wages and being reasonable in wages being handed out but on another note, Poli and Guarin also need to be bought outright.

Is Moratti willing to splash out the amount close to 100 million euros in the summer? I guess he already knows the answer in his head, but for wider public, it is unknown. The summer ahead will be decisive for Inter, while I’m sure there are cheaper options and ways out there to do the necessary rebuild, I am also not so sure if Inter’s management and Moratti can afford to think outside the box at the moment. Unlike in the past, the fans have grown used to winning and they are unlikely to be patient when Inter is in a similar situation again next season.

For last two years, Inter has brought in players who don’t come with big reputation, now it is time for them to bring in players who will come in with the goal of them being starters from the off and for a period of 4-5 years. Only this way will the managers of the team stop preferring the senators of Inter just based on what they have done in the past.

And whoever arrives, individual quality alone will never be enough, the manager needs to knit them together into a good unit. Therefore it is necessary that Inter no longer waits until the last-minute to make half of its deals but rather knows already by the end of the season who he wants to get and who will leave.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Other Articles

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Big Reports

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,