Weeks after being linked with a move to Everton it seemed like Roma sporting director Monchi again signed an upcoming superstar – the 21-year-old winger Malcom from Bordeaux. The French club had already sent out a statement, that stated, that the player agreed a contract with Roma and is on his way to the Italian capital for his medical.
Giallarossi fans were already waiting at the Aeroporto di Roma-Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci” for the Brazilian, who scored 12 goals and assisted 7 the season before. “The deal was done and the player was authorised to travel to Rome this evening. The plane should have arrived at 11pm, everything was sealed.”
But the fans were waiting in vain. Although nothing had been signed, player, agent and club had agreed on terms and conditions in mails and phone calls. But Barcelona had swooped Malcom. A scandalous move, but the reports about the transfer hardly appealed – yet.
While Roma is looking at the case to take legal actions, the Catalan fans are wondering on what to expect from 41 million Euro signing. We took a look at the Brazilian’s career and analysed his style of play.
Ending careers at young age
Already in young age the in São Paulo born teenager had his breakthrough at his local club Corinthians. By the age of 17 he became a regular starter, after Romarinho had left the Todo Poderoso (“the Almighty”) for Qatary club El-Aisha for 7,5 million Euro.
Malcom knew to amaze in early age and toyed his opponents. It didn’t take long for the Brazilian to be discovered by Ukrainian scouts from Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donezk – but the offers were declined by Corinthians.
The 17-year-old stayed at the club and unlike his idol Neymar, he managed to win the Brazil Championship with his childhood club. He won the title in his first full season in 2015 and was a key player from the very beginning. With five goals, four assists and dozens of ended careers by his trickery. Malcom knew to impress the fans and the scouts.
Therefore it was somewhat surprising that Girondins Bordeaux signed the young Brazilian for just 5 million Euro in January 2016 – especially as the French club just was in horrendous form.
Just days before Malcom joined Le club au scapulaire (“The Club with the Chevron”) the team then-managed by Willy Sagnol was ranked 12th in Ligue 1 and lost the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final 1:5 against LOSC Lille.
Despite the weak performances former Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto convinced Malcom to join the French. Just weeks after the starlet’s arrival Willy Sagnol was fired.
“The real Malcom!”
Malcom had problems settling in this stormy era, as he admitted later: “Last year I was still adapting and I think I can do better this time. This year you are going to see the real Malcom!” – and the fans truly did.
With his versatility he fascinated the Girondins supporters and brought his opponents to despair. The Brazilian winger attacks from every direction and angle on the pitch and is dangerous from the centre as well as from the wings.
But he’s not like many other wingers from South America – Malcom has a lot of vision and loves passing. Despite being in full speed he spots and executes delightful through balls to his colleagues and positions himself perfectly after doing so.
Even in high pressure situations the young Brazilian keeps his calm and is very quick in decision making. Last season he was the best dribbler of his club with completing 80% of his dribbles.
Despite this impressive statistic he will have to learn at Barcelona to make smarter moves, because although he completes a high number of his dribbles, he still makes far too many of his dribbles into the wrong areas.
Benvinguda a Barcelona
In Catalunya he will have to adapt to Barca’s style of play and can only contribute and help the team by making smarter decisions.
But while lacking this, he’s even more impressive in gaining possession – an ability, that could help him a lot at his new club. Barca is defending very high and tries to attack the opponent very early. Malcom has proven himself very often in France as one of the first players in Bordeaux’s line up to put the opponent under pressure.
Unlike many young players he’s doing that with a lot of determination, intelligence and discipline. This leading to clean and quick tackles, regaining possession and helping his team to start counter attacks. Over 70% of Malcom’s recoveries happened in the opponent’s half – a very impressive statistic.
Despite having so much talent and potential his biggest problem seems to be his inconsistency. Although the 21-year-old mostly scores beauties, his scoring performances are too volatile – sometimes he fascinates with ridiculous and outstanding goals, sometimes he barely is visible or lacks concentration in front of the goal.
Now with being handed a fantastic transfer the Brazilian has to prove himself, but as many before him, he needs to make something of himself or he ends up being one of a lot of talents, that couldn’t perform at Camp Nou.
It’s now up to Ernesto Valverde and him to adapt as soon as possible, learn a lot and make use of his huge potential. Malcom therefore is an addition, that is very difficult to gauge, but will be very interesting to look out for. Scoring his very first goal for Barca against Roma could be the ironic as well as iconic start for an impressive career at Barcelona.