Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira played on loan at Rennes last season, there was some promise, but what can Swansea expect from the 23-year-old?
In order to cover the possibility of star striker Wilfried Bony going to the African Cup of Nations next month, Swansea City have made the move to sign Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira from Benfica untill the end of the season, but fans should save their excitement because putting their hopes on Oliveira’s shoulders is a questionable move.
The career of the 23-year-old has been somewhat bizarre and eclectic over the past five years. Despite graduating to the Benfica first-team in 2009 the centre-forward has only played 12 times for the Lisbon club.
His young footballing career has mostly been spent on loan, with Swansea being the fifth club he has joined. Spells at Rio Ave, Pacos Ferreira, Deportivo La Coruna and Rennes have been mostly disappointing. Despite playing for Portugal at every level, from under-16 to the full national team, the 6 foot 1 forward has never quite blossomed as many had hoped.
It was at Rennes in Ligue 1 last season that his limitations were highlighted, stopping the Breton club making a permanent move for the forward. Oliveira scored just eight goals in 30 appearances for Rennes, with seven of the goals coming over the first 12 weeks of the season, including braces against Evian and Toulouse.
18 of his 30 appearances were from the start and the striker only scored in six games during his loan spell. As the season continued, Oliveira’s time on the pitch came more and more from the bench.
At the start of the season, the forward looked a good option. His strong upper-body and play with his back to goal cause problems for the Ligue 1 defences, but he couldn’t sustain it. An inability to beat his man, teamed with a lack of decent acceleration and pace caused the forward problems.
Rennes made moves in the January transfer window last season, bringing in Ola Toivonen and Paul-Georges Ntep and with it went Oliveira’s chances at maintaining a starting spot in the attack. Swansea will be hoping that they can emulate Rennes and get at least six good games out of Oliveira before Bony returns.
The striker is another year older, another year wiser, there is definite promise, so perhaps his performances can improve from what he showed last season. If not, Swansea could struggle in Bony’s absence.