How good is Lucas Moura?

Is he really worth more than 38m euros? (Vipcomm)

So it turns out that the rumours in the British press were true after all. After weeks of speculation in the British press – which I am many in Brazil thought was nonsense – a huge bid for Lucas Moura from Manchester United was confirmed. 88m Reais or 33 million Euros depending on which newspaper you read or exchange rate you use. A lot of money for a 19 year old – about the same amount Manchester United paid for Wayne Rooney. But, is he really worth all that?

When the bid was confirmed, I was surprised and so were people in Brazil who had thought that Inter Milan and Real Madrid were the only two clubs in the running for the player’s signature. But it turns out that Manchester United were in the running all along. The numbers involved are even more of a surprise and even then the bid was turned down by his club. United have come back with a new bid of 38m euros this week which has also been rejected.

Lucas is 19 years old and one of Brazil’s brightest prospects. He burst into the São Paulo team a couple of years ago. I remember watching him destroy Palmeiras in one of his first games. Fantastic close control, dribbling and a very good goal in that game too. Since then Lucas has gone on to become São Paulo’s most important player – more important than the likes of the ageing and injury prone Rogerio Ceni and Luis Fabiano. He has also gone on to play 15 times for Brazil (according to Wikipedia but that sounds about right to me).

He is one of Brazil’s top talents but the feeling I have is that the player might just have hit a ceiling. Will he keep improving? Can he break the ceiling? I have my doubts. He is not a starter for the seleção and he will start on the bench for Brazil at the Olympic games with Mano Menezes preferring Hulk on the right hand side of a his man attack. Although he has been around for a while, he hasnt cemented his place in Brazil´s team, not even their young Olympí­c team.

One of the problems with Lucas seems to be his decision making. Quite often he runs down blind alleys, puts his head down failing to notice his teammates or choose the right time to pass the ball to them. He has a good shot but also wastes some good chances and is not a goalscorer. According to Wikipedia his goal record is 14 goals in 59 games for Sao Paulo. Okay, I know Wikipedia is not reliable but while Neymar seems to score in almost every game for Santos Lucas certainly does not for São Paulo. They both basically play in the same position as winger come forward with Neymar on the left and Lucas normally on the right.

The videos you see of Lucas in action on Youtube are all true. He has done that and not every player can. He is special. But you also need to remember that lots of those goals and skills were done in the São Paulo State Championship against players and teams that are frankly lousy. I mentioned his performance against Palmeiras in a derby match when he was a new real kid on the block but I can’t recall too many other occasions when he has delivered against big teams in big matches which is why there is criticism that he doesn’t deliver when it really matters.

He hasn’t won a trophy with São Paulo – their rivals Corinthians, Santos and Palmeiras all have – and in the São Paulo state Championship knock-out stages two years running he was overshadowed by Neymar. Santos beat São Paulo at home with Neymar instrumental. It was meant to be Lucas and São Paulo’s day – Santos had just come back from a gruelling trip to Bolivia in the Copa Libertadores and were tired. Neymar stepped up. Lucas didnt.

I haven’t watched enough of São Paulo to give a completely authoritative view. I went to see them live last night (match report to come) but obviously Lucas wasnt playing since hes with the Olympic squad. What was apparent last night was that Sao Paulo seriously missed him. But on the times I have seen him my impressions are those I have described above. It’s not just me – I read a lot of match reports by Brazilian journalists and I’ve asked my friends who are São Paulo fans their view on the player.  They all think that it is crazy that the club doesn’t sell the player – they would sell him for a lot less than the 33m. The consensus among journalists in Brazil is that he is worth 60-70m Reais and not the 90m Reais that Manchester United offered.

I am personally shocked that Manchester United have bid that much for Lucas. I don’t see how he will be any better than Nani, Young and Valencia. Lucas is a very quick player but is not a playmaker. He is nothing like Ganso or Oscar. He is nothing like Eden Hazard. If you ask me, Manchester United need somebody who can pass the ball very well, dictate the pace of the game and not another willing, although talented, runner. If Manchester United want to spend a fortune on an up-and-coming Brazilian star they should look at Ganso or Oscar in my opinion. Probably a bit late for Oscar though who looks like hes signed at Chelsea. But either way, São Paulo’s rejection of their 33m bid could just be a blessing in disguise.

If I had to describe Lucas I’d say he is the Brazilian equivalent of Theo Walcott. Basically just a more skilful version of Walcott. See photographic evidence below:

Theo Walcott (Solarpix / PR Photos)

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14 thoughts on “How good is Lucas Moura?

  1. good article. but…. walcott is 4 years older than lucas, so i think thats an unfair comparison (although their haircuts are identical), as walcott is theoretically hitting his peak age, whereas lucas is not even fully developed and appears far more talented with the ball at his feet. running with his head down is something ronaldo was also guilty of before moving to united, and he turned out ok. i think that you may be right about him hitting his tallent ceiling, unless he is pushed to become better, being part of a stronger team in a different environment (such as the premier league) could cause him to progress beyond what we think is possible… as a man utd fan, i hope that he comes.

    • Thanks for that Blick.

      He’s an exciting youngster no doubt…. but as a United fan I wouldn’t bet on him to be your saviour. He does remind me of Walcott in style and looks. There was a lot of hype surrounding Walcott when he went to Arsenal and then the World Cup… unfortunately he hasn’t lived up to it. Lets hope Lucas doesn’t go the same way….

      38m Euros – way too expensive if you ask me!

  2. 38m euros?? I believe they could get kaka with half of that… despite Lucas is in the very beggining of his career, Kaka is a sure top talent.. and even playing less than half of last season, he scored 8 goals and made 15 assists. He’s certainly stiil able to reach the top. Lucas is a bet, we dont know how well he will adapt to european football style

  3. This player was Junior team of Corinthians, and was “stolen” by Sao Paulo, when he turned 16.

    He was nicknamed Marcelo at Corinthians, the famous Marcelo Carioca, more by physical than by way of playing.

    As a rival of St. Paul, I can speak it fairly, I consider him a player with a bright future, he has to improve, and your style, releasing the ball faster.

    But long before, I had not seen a player with an incredible speed and total control of the ball at great speed, he can run with the ball secured, faster than the defender without the ball.

    He also has a very good shot long distance.

    Another good point, I think, he has a very good head, unlike Robinho, Ronaldinho and others.

    He reminds me of a player, (Denner), who died prematurely at age 20, the speed and ball control with speed.

    • Brilliant Danilo, cheers for that. I remember he used to be called Marcelinho then changed his name…. since he plays for Sao Paulo probably didnt want to be remembered and named after a Corinthians legend…

    • You’re just plain wrong. São Paulo didn’t steal him and he was 13 when he moved to São Paulo’s youth team. Reality is his family was concerned about his education and school grades because his school was far from Corinthians training ground, they asked Corinthians to do something about that and they refused. So they moved to São Paulo at the end of his contract with Corinthians (when Lucas was 13).

  4. Pingback: Watching São Paulo at the Morumbi | Brazilian Football Blog

  5. Hi
    Great article as usual,i have commented before that i thought that Lucas
    played with his head down and his decision making was poor but i think he will improve and be a top player,he has pace a criteria which Premier League clubs are looking for in players at the moment.SP should sell him now and recruit some expierienced players as they have a young team which needs some older heads,they were poor again last night but Adelmilson showed some promise.

    • Hi
      The match against Figueirense was shocking and against ten men for some of the second half.I follow SP and that was the worst i have seen.I am biased against Walcott being a Spurs fan but he does worry me when he plays against us.Lucas is better than Walcott already but i dont think he will fulfill his potential at Utd being a bit part player and South Americans dont seem to do well at Utd with only a couple of exceptions.

  6. lucas will be noting like nani, he is only 19
    he is also very very fast, i would say quicker
    than theo walcott he is very skillful and great dribbling /himself and neymar will grow up to be
    two great world stars

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