According to reports, Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is eying an audacious move for Brazilian junior international Adryan.
He only joined current club Cagliari in January, but new coach Zdenek Zeman has made it clear that the attacking midfielder isn’t in his first team plans for next season, and thus, it’s believed Adryan would be interested in an Elland Road switch.
The deal, either on loan or permanently, would mark a major coup for the Whites. Adryan is considered to be one of the hottest prospects Verde-Amarela currently has to offer, having netted eight times in 14 appearances at U17 level.
So in honour of Adryan’s expected arrival in Yorkshire – rumours suggest he could be touching down at the airport as we speak – here’s FIVE reasons the South American playmaker is the right man for Leeds United.
The rivalry between Leeds and Manchester United is by no means as intense as it used to be, in no small part due to the fact they haven’t been in the same division for over a decade.
But with the exception of Danny Pugh, Whites and Red Devils do not mix. So the Elland road faithful will be very pleased to discover that Adryan has already snubbed a move to Old Trafford.
After impressing at the U17 World Cup in 2011 (which we’ll come onto later), the young Brazilian rejected United’s advances after being invited to train at Carrington.
A year later, the Flamengo starlet revealed to Globo Esporte; “Man United did talk to me and showed interest. But I was not interested in moving at that point. Let’s see if something adequate comes up in the future. I don’t think about going to Europe so quickly, things need to be done step by step.”
It’s believed Adryan is still on the Old Trafford radar, so bringing him to Yorkshire would be a real boot in the Gary Kellys for Leeds’ ancient rivals.
— Tribal Football (@tribalfootball) August 19, 2014
Leeds United lack invention going forward, especially from the middle of the park. Rodolph Austin, Michael Tonge, David Norris, Luke Murphy, Tommaso Bianchi and Alex Mowatt are all hard workers that can be trusted in possession, but none are capable of unlocking opposition defences with the ball on a regular basis.
Resultantly, the Whites have found only one goal so far this season – a rebounded effort that new signing Billy Sharp expectantly tucked away:
But Adryan represents something the Elland Road squad is currently without – a genuine No.10 with quality on the ball who can link the midfield to the attack. In fact he’s so well-suited to that role, Cagliari have just issued him the No.10 shirt for the coming campaign.
Here’s the 20 year-old’s passing and creativity stats from last season, based on per-90-min metrics:
— MrPaulRobinson (@MrPaulRobinson) August 15, 2014
Dribbling ability is by no means the be all and end all in the Championship, but Leeds’ statistics from their opening two league fixtures are incredibly concerning.
As viewable below, no player has averaged more than 0.5 successful dribbles per match:
That could easily change over the course of the next few matches, but it’s undisputable that Leeds’ roster currently lacks a player who can charge at the opposition with the ball at his feet, gaining 40 or 50 yards, especially after saying goodbye to El Hadji-Diouf, Cameron Stewart and Jimmy Kebe this summer.
Well, Adryan would remedy that in abundance. Just take a look at how he drives at defenders in this eight-minute video:
Eventual Young Player of the Year Alex Mowatt emerged as a bit of a set piece specialist towards the end of last season, finding a number of assists from dead ball situations.
But the Leeds prospect does not compare to Adryan, who is renowned for his free kick ability. Take this wonder strike against Gremio for example when he was just 16:
Or this free-kick to save Brazil U17s from a shock defeat to Australia U17s:
If the 19 year-old can transition that free kick prowess to the Championship, where the each side is awarded on average 10.6 fouls per match, he’ll have a huge impact on Leeds’ goals for tally this season.
— mark jackson (@markyj71) August 17, 2014
The quality of Leeds’ signings this summer, on the whole, is rather debatable. Nicky Ajose, Tommaso Bianchi, Giuseppe Bellusci, Souleymane Doukara and Marco Silvestri for example, are as likely to emerge as transfer gems as they are complete flops.
But Adryan’s talent, despite a rather quiet time with Cagliari, remains undoubted. People have been raving about the 19 year-old ever since 2011, when he exploded onto the scene with Brazil at the U17 World Cup, going on to pick up the tournament’s Bronze Boot, and the South American U17 Championships in the same year.
Indeed, in 2012, Adryan was included in Don Balon’s 101 best players born after 1991, and in his homeland, the attacking midfielder is often referred to as ‘Herdeiro de Zico’, which translates as ‘heir to Zico’.
Thus, Manchester United’s alleged interest in the playmaker is no great surprise. Here’s a look at the youngster in action: