It may not be quite time for the ‘Welcome to Liverpool’ Youtube compilations, but it’s certainly worth digging a little deeper into the Brazilian sensation whose agent may or may not have been in Liverpool on Friday.
The representative of Lucas Paqueta was reportedly on Merseyside earlier this week amid rumours linking his client to a number of European clubs, one of those being Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
Eduardo Uram could have simply been visiting as a tourist and an avid admirer of Liverpool Cathedral, he could have merely been in town to market another of his multiple players, or he could have been finalising a big-money move to England for his prized asset. We know which one we’d like to believe, whether realistic or not.
With all that said and done, who is Lucas Paqueta?
The 21-year-old currently plies his trade in homeland Brazil with Campeonato Brasileiro Série A side Flamengo, where he has been since the age of 10.
Paqueta was promoted to the senior team in 2016 and subsequently signed a first professional contract keeping him at the club until 2020.
After making the bench on six occasions during the 2015/2016 campaign, he made his senior league debut as a teenager in May 2017 with a 14 minute cameo Atlético Paranaense.
He has since registered 12 goals and five assists in 57 Série A appearances to assert himself as another enthralling prospect to emerge from Brazilian football’s factory of attacking talent.
The South American finds himself in the middle of his most productive season, with two goals in Friday’s win over Corinthians taking his league tally to nine in 25 games.
Such has been his lasting impression that he was rewarded with a place on the 12-man list of backups for Brazil’s World Cup squad in Russia.
I still think joining Liverpool would be risky for Lucas Paquetá. It would be difficult to impose himself quickly, which would result in English press labeling him as a flop.
Here's the thing, though. He's a hard-worker and Klopp loves that. pic.twitter.com/V1t0l7w22l
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) October 5, 2018
Much of the focus on Paqueta has circled around his expressive attacking flair and the touch of individual ingenuity so often associated with products of South American futsal arenas.
He is both a slippery manipulator of the ball capable of drifting beyond multiple markers, as well as a devoted enforcer of his side’s work rate and intensity.
Some may recall a recent viral video of his unyielding efforts to retain possession from one side of the pitch to the other, before expressing his dismay at the sight of his teammates failing to follow suit.
Besides possessing some frightening footwork, he also has an incisive eye for a pass with which he is able to exploit from all areas of the pitch. Though he lines up primarily as a central-playmaker, Paqueta has a proven tendency to operate across the width of the pitch as a means of getting himself on the ball regularly.
There is an explosiveness to his game that enables him to break the lines and initiate attacks from deep, not to mention an intelligence to dispose of the ball wisely.
Paqueta has also been heavily linked to AC Milan, with Calciomercato recently reporting that the Italian giants are in a strong position to sign him in the January transfer window.
Both Manchester clubs have also been tipped as possible suitors, whilst Le 10 Sport have noted Paris Saint-Germain as favourites to land him.
PremiumSportHD’s Andersinho Marques, the man behind the claims Paqueta’s agent was in Liverpool, was the first to establish a connection back in June.
In doing so, he suggested interest on the Reds’ part as well as revealing a £40million release clause in Paqueta’s current contract.
It seems increasingly unlikely Paqueta will still be playing his football in Brazil come this time next year.