Lucas Paquetá has been making headlines for Flamengo this season to attract the attention of European clubs – here’s a player breakdown
Lucas has played 21 games in the Brazilian league this season, all of them as a starter, netting six goals and producing one assist. There is no doubt that Paquetá has the quality to produce better numbers in the final third, but this is probably down to a recent new role which saw a switch to a deeper position.
But the forward remains an offensive threat whenever the ball is at his feet, averaging 2.1 dribbles and 1.4 key passes per match, along with three shots per game, showing he’s never afraid of trying his luck on goal.
Lucas started his career as an attacking midfielder, a classic 10. That was obvious in his displays for Brazil in the Sul-Americano U20 a year-and-a-half ago, when he was the midfield-maestro of Rogério Micale’s Brazil side, drawing similarities with Flamengo legend Zico, in his style of play.
But Paquetá, who was always criticized for lacking physicality and not working hard-enough, has recently shown notable improvement in this aspect. He has become one of the most dynamic players on the pitch, as highlighted in his cameo appearance for Brazil, against El Salvador in Washington DC, a few days ago.
Lucas currently operates as a playmaker in Flamengo’s current 4-3-3 tactical setup. But thanks to his wonderful technique and ever-improving work-rate, he may eventually establish himself as a box-to-box midfielder by the time he completes a move to Europe.
Style of play
Paquetá is never shy of holding onto the ball and running into crowded defenses. He was often criticized for willing to do a bit too much with the ball at times, instead of playing the easy pass. But it’s clear that his decision-making is improving as he grows and gains more experience.
He tends to release the ball quicker these days, however, his love for innovation and his desire to come up with new skills in almost every game with the goal of entertaining the fans, is definitely one of the characteristics that make him special, and as popular. People love watching talented, technical players, who are never shy of trying their luck in the most difficult of situations.
The European press linking European clubs to Brazil-based players can never be taken for granted, however it seems like AC Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain have expressed interest in acquiring Lucas Paquetá’s services.
The best destination would be the French giants, as they are in desperate need for a new face in midfield after letting go of the likes of Thiago Motta, Giovani Lo Celso, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Javier Pastore in the summer transfer window, without signing any replacement.
German manager Thomas Tuchel has even played centre-back Marquinhos in midfield, due to a lack of options and depth. So in terms of game-time, a January move to PSG is convenient. Other benefits are the opportunity to play in the Champions League, as well as train every week with world class players such as Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.
Lucas Paquetá is one of the hottest names in South America at the moment, and it will certainly not take too much time before we see him plying his trade at one of the biggest clubs in Europe.