Since Mirror Football have more or less confirmed that Georginio Wjinaldum will be leaving Liverpool for Barcelona at the end of the season, Liverpool fans have taken the liberty to discuss players who can replace Wjinaldum. Shouts of Tielsmans, Sanches and Bissouma are getting louder and louder, and to good reason, no doubt. But, a player is going rather unnoticed amidst this hullabaloo, who has caught the eyes of some select Liverpool fans. A player claimed to be the next Bruno Fernandes.
Pedro GoncalvesEmbed from Getty Images
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
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.
Finishing (very strong)
Key passes (strong)
Long shots (strong)
Through balls (strong)
Defensive contribution (strong)
Aerial duels (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 League Statistics
Now, let’s have a peek at his 2020/2021 season statistics in the Liga Nos:
(All are adjusted to be per game)
Dribbled past- 1.1
Key passes– 1.8
Pass success rate– 72.4
Long balls– 1.3
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.
Is he similar to Gini?Embed from Getty Images
On comparing both of their league statistics, we have managed to draw up a chart:
Shots per game:
Pass success rate:
Aerial duels won:
A single look at this chart is enough to tell one that Pote and Wjinaldum are two 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, he is still an attractive buy.
Why should he be on LFC’s radar?
•He is only 22 years old and already producing incredible numbers from central midfield
•He comes cheap.
•A creative player, he is something Liverpool desperately need, as evident from the last few matches.
• He is reasonably speedy and agile.
• 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?
Should we go for Pote?Embed from Getty Images
In my personal opinion, we should absolutely go after Pote in the coming two windows. Valued at just £7.2M by TransferMarkt (again, Sporting might ask for more) this deal might turn out to be a complete steal if Pote lives up to his potential
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 surely 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 buy 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.