In this series Nick Harris looks at some of the young players who may be the biggest new stars of 2013. Lucas Ocampos is the subject of this article, with the Argentine wonder kid already impressing in the French second division.
One of the most surprising transfers this summer was the €15 million capture of Lucas Ocampos by AS Monaco. Whilst the club have a famous past, they are currently languishing in Ligue 2 in France, and Ocampos was rumoured to have a host of Champions League sides to pick from.
However the move to Monaco may prove to be an excellent decision for the 18 year old, with Ocampos already featuring regularly for the club, who are flying high in Ligue 2. If he can continue to improve, and the club can seal promotion back to the top flight, Ocampos will have cemented his place in a top European side before he turns 19.
Ocampos has frequently been compared to Cristiano Ronaldo in his short career, and their is a striking physical resemblance between the players on the football pitch. Like the Portuguese phenomenon, Ocampos is tall, strong and incredibly quick with the ball at his feet. The Argentine can play on either wing or through the centre as a striker, and revels in taking on isolated defenders, though as with all young players of his type, he can be frustratingly wasteful if not on top form.
Before coming to Monaco Ocampos had been at the centre of River Plate’s revival in Argentina. With the famous club relegated in 2010 Ocampos was key to their promotion campaign in the following season, and Monaco will no doubt hope that he can have a similarly restorative effect on their fortunes.
If Ocampos impresses but Monaco do fail to get promoted, there’s every chance that some of the teams that were initially interested in the player before his move last summer. Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus were all reported as chasing Ocampos, and will no doubt look to take advantage if Monaco cannot provide him with top flight European football.
Either way, Ocampos could well be playing on a bigger stage in 2013, and his Youtube-friendly talent dictates that there will be plenty of people interested in watching the young forward. As a result, the exciting Argentine could well be a huge star by this time next year.
image: © sdhansay