As Predicted: Liverpool linked w Sporting Starlet

Priyasha Bhowmik
Read Time:6 Minute, 2 Second

According to Portuguese newspaper Record, Liverpool have made an approach for Pedro Goncalves, but, Sporting are willing to part with their midfielder only in the summer. If the reports turn out to be true after all, and Pote signs for us, our midfield rejuvenation is going to be splendid indeed.

A few weeks back, we made an article that gave us a closer look into the Portuguese starlet, and how he has all the qualities Liverpool should look in a player.

To our surprise, it took less than two weeks for us to get linked with a move, so we decided to repost the piece considering that the stats and numbers are still the same.

Pedro Goncalves


Pedro António Pereira Gonçalves, popularly known as Pote, is a young Portuguese central midfielder who currently plays for Sporting CP.

A former Wolverhampton Wanderers footballer (although he made only one appearance, in the League Cup), Pote has been impressing his peers left and right this season in the Liga Nos. Although a midfielder, he is a constant attacking threat and has statistics to back his case up.

Style of Play

Embed from Getty Images


Now, let’s look at this style of play, along with strengths and weaknesses, according to whoscored.com.

One thing that young Pote loves to do is dribble. Full of composure, he has an eye for spaces, to use for goalscoring opportunities or for crossing. His reading and understanding of the game is very advanced for his age, and his quick burst of speed while making intelligent runs is what makes him stand out from other talents in Portugal.

His strengths:

Finishing (very strong)
Key passes (strong)
Long shots (strong)
Through balls (strong)
Dribbling (strong)
Defensive contribution (strong)

His weaknesses:

Aerial duels (weak)
Passing (weak)

Right now, on paper, Pote looks like an absolutely wonderful prospect. He evidently is present on both sides of the field and has attacking strengths fit for a striker.

His only weaknesses are aerial duels and passing, the former not much of a surprise seeing that Pote stands at a modest height of 5 feet 9 inches.

2020/2021 Liga Nos Statistics

Embed from Getty Images


Now, let’s have a peek at his 2020/2021 season statistics in the Liga Nos:

(All are adjusted to be per game)

Defensive statistics:

Tackles– 1.5
Fouls– 0.5
Interceptions– 1
Clearances– 0.2
Dribbled past– 1.1
Blocks– 0.1

Offensive statistics:

Goals– 12
Assists– 2
Shots– 2.6
Key passes– 1.8
Dribbles– 1.3
Fouled– 1.2
Offside– 0.2
Dispossessed– 1.5

Passing statistics:

Passes– 29.2
Pass success rate– 72.4
Crosses– 0.7
Long balls– 1.3
Throughballs– 0.1

All of this was achieved through 1093 minutes of action across 13 appearances in the league. He has been named in the starting eleven 93% of the time , played 83% of the available minutes and has been involved in a whopping 45% of Sporting CP league goals this season. All of these obvisouly sound massively impressive and we can only imagine how good Pote can be under the guidance of a better manager in a bigger club, in a better league.

His defensive and passing statistics might be a bit shaky, but do remember, the lad is only 22. He is still learning.

The next Bruno Fernandes?

After Bruno Fernandes’ departure from Sporting CP to Manchester United, many thought the club would not see a similar player soon. While Fernandes has settled in well in United, in his spot, young Pote was pushed in. And he has done more than just a good job.

Helping Sporting CP with an unexpected title charge this season, Pote has been averaging 1.08 direct goal contributions per game in the league. He is also the top scorer of Liga Nos, having scored 5 more goals than the second placed player.

Very much like Fernandes, he obviously likes to get involved in the attack, and is doing it quite successfully.

Similar Player to Gini?

Pedro Goncalves the next Wijnaldum
during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on August 12, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

On comparing both of their league statistics, we have managed to draw up a chart:


Appearances:
Pote-13
Wjinaldum-18(2)*

Minutes:
Pote– 1098
Wjinaldum– 1621*

Goals:
Pote– 12*
Wjinaldum– 1

Assists:
Pote- 2*
Wjinaldum-N/A

Yellows:
Pote– 2
Wjinaldum– N/A*

Reds:
Pote– 1
Wjinaldum– N/A*

Shots per game
Pote-2.6*
Wjinaldum– 0.9

Pass success rate
Pote-72.4
Wjinaldum-91.1*

Aerial duels won
Pote– 0.5
Wjinaldum– 1.2*

MOTM
Pote- 4*
Wjinaldum-N/A

Total rating
Pote-7.67*
Wjinaldum-6.66

A single look at this chart is enough to tell one that Pote and Wjinaldum are two very different kind of players. While Pote got the better of Wjinaldum in the attacking aspects, the 29 year old Dutchman had better passing and aerial duel statistics, along with being more disciplined. So him being a Wjinaldum replacement might as well be off the table.

However, it seems like he is not looked at like a Wjinaldum replacement at all! Liverpool are enquiring about Pote, according to Diário Record.


Why is Pote such a hot prospect?

Liverpool want Pedro Goncalves

▪︎He is only 22 years old and already producing incredible numbers from central midfield.


▪︎Comes at quite a cheap price


▪︎A creative player, he is something Liverpool desperately need, as evident from the last few matches.


▪︎He is reasonably speedy and agile.


▪︎Good injury record. He is not injury prone at all, only missing 3 games in 19 days on the sidelines in his entire career. 2 of those games were missed only because he was sick with COVID-19.


▪︎Does his work on both ends of the pitch.


We are aware that somes part of his game aren’t as chiseled as one might hope it is, but, he is at the ripe age of 22, he can always improve. With him tearing up Liga Nos, it does makes one wonder, how would he do in the Premier League?

A Move to Liverpool?

In personal opinion, it is a right step in the right direction for the club to go after Pote in the coming two windows. Valued at just £7.2M by TransferMarkt (again, Sporting might ask for more) this deal may turn out to be a complete steal if Pote lives up to his potential if he does join Liverpool.

Liverpool should make a move and swoop Pote up as soon as possible. Like I said, he is going very much under the radar and has not yet caught the eyes of Europe’s biggest clubs. When he does, his price will almost certainly be inflated, something which should be avoided. Getting him before he catches more attention would make it a low risk transfer. A transfer which might pay off in the future.

He would certainly not be a Wjinaldum replacement, if Liverpool do end up buying him. But he would be a brilliant addition to our already stacked pool of midfielders. Under the guidance of the likes of Thiago, Henderson and Fabinho, Pote can blossom into a very special player.


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