Well almost every day you hear one commentator or another praising a young lad saying “this guy will be huge”. Raheem Sterling got his first Liverpool start against Manchester City the other weekend and was quite impressive but of course he is not the player we should be talking about right!
There happens to be this young 18-year-old in Chelsea’s youth ranks who is touted to be the next big thing in world football. He happens to be so good that people actually call him the next “Kaka” (Yes! He is Kaka’s Doppelganger). Everyone simply adores him, some because of his wonderful skills,ball control and others mainly for his good looks. This guy happens to be Lucas Piazon.
So, apart from being an absolute must buy on FIFA 12. Just who exactly is Lucas Piazon?
Gustavo Lucas Domingues Piazón was signed by Chelsea from Sao Paolo for a fees of £5 million, which could eventually rise to £10 million. There were question marks as to why Chelsea have paid such a high fee for a young 17-year-old but for Chelsea this was more of a “for the future” type signing.
Chelsea secured his services by means of a pre-contract leaving behind the likes of Juventus, Barcelona. Later São Paulo announced that Piazón could only play for Chelsea senior team after 20 January 2012 when he became eligible to obtain a work visa, but he would join in the 2011 summer transfer window. A boyhood Chelsea fan, Piazon considered this to be his “dream move” and not only a Chelsea fan but a fan of English football as well. It was probably one of the main reasons as to why he snubbed Juventus.
Where does he play?
There is a lot of debate as to where exactly Lucas Piazon fits in the Chelsea team. Some say he is a striker, some say he is better off as a winger and others say he is best suited for the number 10 role. The other night I was watching the Chelsea U-21 side thrash Wolves U-21 5-0, thanks to a brace by Piazon. So some notes from that game first.
Piazon started the game on the Left Wing, but that does not complete the whole story. Piazon is usually given more of a free role by Drummy, something similar to what Eden Hazard and Juan Mata are doing. He has the freedom to roam around anywhere in the attacking third, be it playing as a second fiddle to Patrick Bamford or making his own Hazard-Mata combination with Billy Clifford.
So far he has only made one start with the first team and that was in the pre season this year against PSG where he managed to score and save us the embarrassment of defeat. This game Di Matteo preferred him in a more advanced and a fixed role of a centre forward because of a lack of alternatives. Though you could still see he at times preferred moving in the left hand side. If I was the manager and from what I have seen of him I would hand him a free role.
Strengths and Weaknesses
From what I have seen of Piazon in the youth/reserve/first team this guy is impressive. Following the footsteps of the likes of John Terry, Lassana Diarra to name a few who won the Chelsea Young Player Award it will be interesting to see whether he can continue his impressive run in the first team. But of course no player is perfect and every player has strengths. A few good/bad points-
- At 6 ft 0 in Piazon many would expect Piazon to do well with aerial balls. Of course he is not as tall as Peter Crouch that he is going to win probably everything but still Piazon compared to many footballers has a decent height considering his age, but still, heading remains one of his biggest weaknesses.
- Second and final weaknesses is a very usual one, his build. He is built like many other Chelsea players of a similar age group (Clifford, MacEachran) remains one of his biggest weaknesses. This is the only reason why I feel he is not ready for the Premier League. The Premier League can be ugly at times (Ramsey incident, Eduardo incident). I expect him to improve this weakness as he is only young and will grow in stature.
- Coming to his strengths, Piazon’s ability to play anywhere in the field remains his biggest strength. His versatile nature will help him adjust anywhere in the attacking half of the team.
- Piazon’s ability to score goals and create spaces for others is excellent. He has got that little Brazilian flair in him and his excellent skill and close control makes him a very all round player.
Time to step up?
Piazon won many hearts when he won the Young Player Of The Year Award last season and led the club to victory in the FA Youth Cup. Since then there has been talk that it is time Piazon finally steps up into the first team or moves up from the U-21 team. But where does he fit?
Roman’s recent obsession of “Beautiful football” and Chelsea’s transition period could turn out to be the moment for Piazon to break in this side. Seeing Chelsea’s current roster, the squad is filled with creative talent- Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Marin, Moses, Sturridge, Torres, Ramires.
These are the players who will usually expect to see in the final third of the field and the competition level is high but for Piazon it is not about being the regular starter right now, he still has a long way to go for that. He will also feature for now in Chelsea's NextGen Series efforts.
With the transfer window ending and Chelsea still not strengthening their striking area, leaving them with just two genuine CF in Torres and Sturridge this can be the area Piazon can look forward to. With Lukaku out on loan and Drogba out of the club, Piazon can be hopeful of getting that third choice CF role, and may be given a chance in the League Cup.
But, there is a more feasible option. A loan deal? Judge for yourself- A third choice CF role/Fighting among top players for the number 10/Wingers role or a loan to another club. Not necessarily a top notch Premier League club or some other league, similar to Josh’s spell at Middlesbrough will be a good deal in my opinion.
What do you believe is best for Piazon's development? Stay and wait for an opportunity, or go on loan?
image: © Free-ers