One 2 Watch – Lucas Moura

Much like his Brasileirão counterpart, Pablo Henrique Ganso, Lucas stands at the forefront of Brazil’s latest generation of emerging and exceptional young talent. A sensationally creative individual, Lucas has earned rave reviews with both São Paulo and the Selecao, thus attracting the attention of every major European club under the sun this last year.

Included in FIFA’s ‘Players to watch in 2011’ list, he finished the season as tied top scorer, with nine, for São Paulo in the 2011 Campeonato Brasileirão, only furthering his status as one of South America’s hottest prospects. His immediate breakthrough onto the international stage was back in February 2011, scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 victory over Uruaguay at the U20 South American Championhips. He has since represented the senior side and was included in Mano Menezes’ 23 man 2011 Copa America squad.

An attacking midfielder who can play anywhere across the pitch, Lucas’ best attributes lie when he has the ball at his feet, with the pace and ability to carry the ball over distance. His explosive speed allows for him to run and frustrate opponents often drawing fouls, an acceleration that isn’t found on the vast majority of top flight footballers, even today. Being just short of 5ft 8in helps with his explosive running style though, surprisingly, takes nothing away from his strength. A stocky creation, he can more than hold his own in a challenge.

The Brazilian talent, like so many, doesn’t come without his flaws however. He’s been known to lack discipline in terms of fulfilling his defensive duties and regulating when he exerts his energy, sometimes undertaking unnecessary runs with the ball. His attacking threat, however, remains the central feature of his game. 2011 brought about 9 goals and 4 assists in 28 league appearances for São Paulo.

Still, to a certain extent, a rather raw talent though he has certainly earned the opportunity to prove himself in Europe. He would fetch São Paulo a decent fee after an €80 million release clause was included in his contract, and the club seemingly stalwart to advances, thus far, from Europe.

Considering everything Lucas Moura is an exceptional young talent who would undoubtedly bolster the threat of even the top European sides. His ability to use both feet remarkably well, whilst keeping the ball almost glued to them and his low centre of gravity makes for an exceptional ball carrier and distributor.

When we see Lucas Moura this side of the Atlantic will only be a matter of how long São Paulo can fend off interest from the giants waiting at the front door.

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Ben Pinkney

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