Scouting Report: Lucas Moura and Oscar

July 24, 2012 in Premier League, Transfers

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There has been a recent boom in the number of South American players plying their trade in the Barclays Premier League. Chelsea and Manchester United are the most prolific purchasers, with Brazilian talents such as Ramires, David Luiz, Lucas Piazon, Anderson, Rafael and Fabio among their ranks. Now, both clubs look set to land two of Brazil’s best talents to bring more samba flair into their teams.

Let’s start with Sao Paulo’s Lucas Moura, who is apparently in talks with United. The 19-year old attacking midfielder is touted as being one of Brazils key players for the upcoming 2014 World Cup, which will take place on their home soil. He is slight in stature, being just 5’8 tall, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with speed. Lucas is phenomenally quick for a midfielder; his bursts of pace make it almost impossible for defensive midfielders to mark him properly. As well as being quick, he is also a very accomplished dribbler, using his pace and good feet to outmanoeuvre defenders with ease. This is something that Manchester United have lacked in the middle of late, someone who can run at the defence through the middle. No doubt that this would mean that Wayne Rooney will be able to push higher up the pitch instead of dropping deep to collect the ball from a static midfield.

Lucas also has an eye for goal. Simply take a look at some of his goals on YouTube, and you will see that he has scored with some sublime chips, but also edge-of-the-box rockets. The technique he has is brilliant, and it is these moments of magic that the Red Devils lacked last season. Perhaps the greatest compliment you could pay him is that he has the potential to be United’s David Silva; he is more than capable of cutting defences open with pinpoint passes just like Silva does for Manchester City.

A lot has been said about whether he is really needed at United. Some fans want a defensive midfield player, similar to Michael Essien before his knees went. While I agree this is what they need too, I also think that Lucas would be a superb acquisition, and it will be interesting to see where he would fit in Alex Ferguson’s system. Lucas is going to be most effective playing just behind the striker, but he can also play on either wing. United already have sufficient depth out wide with Antonio Valencia, Nani, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing’s Portuguese cousin, Bebe (I am a Bebelieber). It will be tricky for Lucas to get straight into the team if he is played out wide, but there is more chance through the centre with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs both approaching the age where they can claim heating allowance, Darren Fletcher sadly ill, and Anderson being constantly injured. Shinji Kagawa will also be competing for a place as the attacking midfielder. Maybe Fergie will play a 4-1-2-2-1 with Kagawa and Lucas given the freedom to attack, with Michael Carrick mopping up in the middle. If I was a United fan, I might even be tempted to go venture up north and go and see this team next season.

While Moura’s transfer is yet to be confirmed, one young Samba star definitely heading to the Premier League is Internacional’s Oscar. He has already undertaken a medical with the Champions League holders, and is expected to tie up a £25m move shortly. Oscar is also an attacking midfielder like Lucas, though Oscar is taller and less mobile. Standing at 6ft tall, he plays a little like PSG’s Javier Pastore, although with less of the fancy flicks. Oscar made a name for himself last season, netting ten goals in twenty six games with five assists - a pretty good record for a then nineteen year old. He doesn’t have the searing pace of Lucas, but still has a good bit of speed. One aspect of play which he beats Lucas in, though, is his eye for goal. He has a brilliant long shot which is similar to that of Frank Lampard in his prime. He is not afraid to have a strike at goal and hits the ball with venom; give him a sight of goal and he will punish teams. He is another Brazilian who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, dribbling past players with ease and has excellent ball control.

His potential role in the Chelsea team is another interesting case. So far, the Blues have spent an awful lot of money on attacking talent. Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Kevin De Bruyne have all joined recently, and you have to wonder what Roberto Di Matteo will do with them all. He will probably enforce the 4-2-3-1 formation that served Chelsea so well towards the end of the season, as Lampard and Ramires will probably be the two holding players with a license to burst forward when possible. The three attacking midfielders, though, is where it gets interesting. Eden Hazard has said that he would like to play through the middle, but Juan Mata did brilliantly there last season and he links up well with compatriot Fernando Torres. Add Oscar to the picture and it gets difficult. For me, Mata is wasted on the wing. He doesn’t quite have enough pace, so he must play centrally. Have Hazard on the left like he was at Lille and stick Marin on the right (although with rumours that Hulk/Andre Schurrle could be coming to Stamford Bridge, they might occupy that right side). This leaves Oscar on the bench and that is not ideal. I don’t want to see another young talent wasted at Chelsea (Lukaku, Borini, Kakuta etc). Hopefully, RDM will see his potential and get him involved.

Both these players are young and have massive potential, but if they both move, will it be the right option for them? Let’s just hope that they get the game time they need to develop. We don’t want another Kleberson or Denilson…