Manchester City have been linked with signing Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta in recent weeks and the Brazilian could prove to be Pep Guardiola’s next £100m talent at the Etihad.
In the last campaign, Paqueta contributed nine goals and six assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances, averaging an impressive 7.24 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
For context, the same level of performance would have ranked him as the joint-sixth best performer in Guardiola’s side last season, with only Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus contributing to more goals.
Considering both Jesus and Sterling are now plying their trade elsewhere, there is definitely an argument to be had that Guardiola could use another goal-scoring midfielder or winger, even with the additions of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.
At just 24, the “extraordinary” – in the words of Peter Bosz – Paqueta could also be a long-term heir to the likes of De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, as they are both now 31 and could struggle to maintain their current levels of performance for the significant future.
According to FbRef, the most similar player to Paqueta in terms of play style is RB Leipzig sensation Christopher Nkunku, who has been valued at a staggering £100m after a sensational season with the Bundesliga side that saw him contribute 20 goals and 15 assists in the German top flight.
Last season saw the two register extremely similar scores in terms of pass completion percentages (79.7 vs 80.1), shot-creating actions per 90 (3.9 vs 4.43) and shots on target per 90 (1.1 vs 1.29), numbers that demonstrate they are rather devastating in the final third.
Furthermore, WhoScored suggests that both Paqueta and Nkunku excel at through balls, passing, dribbling and key passes, which emphasises just how similar the players are. It also shows how much the former would suit City’s possession-based style of play.
From a goal-scoring and creative point of view, both players are extremely dangerous in the final third, and if Guardiola could get his hands on the Brazil international, he could well craft him into a £100m talent, just like Nkunku.