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Will Piazon stand out at Stamford Bridge?

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Tim Vickery | 17:30 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011

Have Chelsea done a good deal acquiring Sao Paulo striker Lucas Piazon, who joins the club next year when he turns 18?

Sao Paulo are certainly happy. The deal enables them to sell a player who has yet to appear in their first team, bring top-class centre forward Luis Fabiano back to the club - he scored 118 goals in 160 appearances for Sao Paulo between 2001 and 2004 - and still have some money left over.

Whether Chelsea can feel as pleased with themselves, only time will tell.

Piazon showed touches of class as Brazil won the South American Under-17 Championship but his performances can hardly be considered conclusive evidence either way.

Usually operating off the centre forward, he is tall, strong and elegant, two-footed and good in the air. But he also came across as a frustrated figure, fretting when things were not going his way.

Piazon celebrates victory in the South American Under-17 ChampionshipPiazon celebrates victory in the South American Under-17 Championship. Photo: AP

Two years ago, Piazon was outstanding at the South American Under-15 Championship, finishing as top scorer with nine goals. This time around, he only managed three, none of them in the decisive second round.

Could this be a youngster who had an early advantage because he matured physically so quickly but, as time went on, stood out less as others caught up?

If conclusions drawn from performances at Under-17 level are unreliable, it is a different matter when it comes to the Under-20s.

Players in the South American Under-20 Championship are often already seasoned professionals. If not, it is still possible to judge whether they are ready for the big time.

Javier Mascherano is an obvious example. When he played for Argentina at the Under-20 Championship in 2003, he had yet to feature in the River Plate first team. Nevertheless, it was clear he was ready.

Just a few months later, he made his senior debut for his country, still without having played for River Plate. Within a year, it was impossible to imagine an Argentina side without him in it.

As I have made clear already, conclusions reached at Under-17 level are treacherous. After the South American Championship six years ago, I wrote a column that focused on the two stand-out players, Kerlon of Brazil and Elias Figueroa of Uruguay. Now 23, the world is still waiting for them to make an impact.

Kerlon was known for the extraordinary seal dribble, running with the ball bouncing on his forehead. In truth, there was much more to his game than that. He looked like an extraordinary talent but he has suffered one injury after another and his senior career has still to take off.

Figueroa is an elegant, left-footed striker. Superb for Uruguay's Under-17 side, he was much less impressive at Under-20 level. In senior football, he is frequently on the bench for minor Montevideo club Liverpool.

I also covered the World Under-17 Cup in Peru six years ago. The two big talents were Anderson of Brazil and Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos. More than half a decade later, Dos Santos has still not made the move from promise to reality and is currently on loan at Racing Santander from Tottenham, while Manchester United's Anderson is a very different player from the one who looked so exciting back in 2005.

There is so much ground to travel before players reach the senior ranks. Youngsters can change so much in just a few years - in technical, physical and psychological terms.

The physical effects can be obvious. Kerlon, for example, has had his career ravaged by injuries, while a serious one may well have robbed Anderson of his burst of acceleration.

There is also the phenomenon of premature physical development, as I have highlighted already. How does the youngster cope when the others catch up and he finds out that he is not quite as good as he thought he was?

Then there are the psychological changes. This is an age when everyone is going through changes. With footballers, there is the added issue of delayed adolescence. Focusing on a career in football can mean a youngster missing out on some of the normal activities of someone his age.

With the first big contract comes an element of financial independence and the temptation to catch up with his old mates by enjoying some of their pleasures - and so he loses focus at the very moment he needs it most.

For those who star for their country at Under-17 level, there is the added strain of going through this process in public. Some careers can be pushed too fast.

An obvious example is Lulinha, a Brazilian attacking midfielder who gave a masterclass in finishing and broke all scoring records in the 2007 South American Under-17 Championship. He was quickly thrown into the Corinthians first team at a time when the Sao Paulo giants were in crisis, fighting against relegation. He was unsurprisingly unprepared and unable to be the team's saviour. He has yet to recover.

Alternatively, a player may not get enough first-team opportunities - a common danger if he moves to a European giant and finds himself lost in a massive squad.

Going through teenage changes in a foreign land can be particularly disorientating. But Manchester United appear to have done a sound job with the Da Silva twins.

Rafael and FabioRafael and Fabio have settled well at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images

In their case, there was a compelling reason for bringing them across the Atlantic so early. In Brazil, they would not have been taught how to defend. Indeed, this is almost certainly one of the reasons that Rafael has been able to make more progress than brother Fabio, captain of Brazil's Under-17s and, along with Lulinha, the star attraction.

Fabio played much more from left-back than at left-back, popping up frequently in the penalty area. It has surely been easier for the less flamboyant Rafael to adapt his game to the demands made of a United full-back. It could be that Fabio's long-term future will be as a wide midfielder.

Either way, United must surely be happy with their investment. Buying the Da Silva twins was clearly a good bit of business. A few years will have to pass before we can judge whether Chelsea have hit the jackpot with Piazon.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
From last week's postbag:

Q) What effect, if any, did the mass migration of top Brazilian talent to Europe starting in the 1980s have on Brazilian football? Did it impact on the culture, the tactics or the quality of the league?
Manuel Marinho

A) It certainly saw the quality drop, although I also think it led to an increase in tactical experimentation. If you didn't have top players to tip the balance, you would have to find some collective way to do it. It also made life hard for the big clubs. With the quality forced down, it was possible for little teams like Sao Caetano to come from nowhere and beat the big boys. Only penalties stopped them winning the Libertadores nine years ago. Being a big club could be a problem. Pressure was piled on by the fans but the squad was not strong enough to cope with the expectations. Over the next few years, I expect to see the opposite happen. With more money and more top players around, I think the big clubs will be better equipped to put distance between themselves and the rest.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Saw a couple of matches of the U17 and Piazon didn't impress me at all. Neither did any of the teams playing it.

    Although in Brazil's case, a good part of it was due to having a very poor coach, Emerson Avila, who seemingly got the position from being friends with the U20 manager. He made some poor choices, both in the call up and selecting the team from each match.

  • Comment number 2.

    This blog adds nothing to answer the question is poses. It begins and ends the same way: time will tell. Well, anyone could have said/predicted that. Is it too much to expect a little more insight? Stick your neck out and make a prediction based not only on his foolballing abilities, but also personal outlook, situation, background, etc. A tad more journalistic perhaps?

  • Comment number 3.

    #2

    Its more a case study in development factors. Tim doesnt write the title, thats done after he submits it

    Unless your point is "sack the editors"?

  • Comment number 4.

    Interesting you chose to write about Piazon. i suppose it's because he's already been signed. What do you think of other players such as Mauro Caballero who was also linked to Chelsea and Rodrigo Baez who has been linked with Blackburn? Paraguay were disappointing in the second round, but Derlis Gonzalez apparently still got his move to Benfica o Porto. Don't remember which.

    Uruguay's top-scorer was also linked to Chelsea.

    What other players impressed you? I was impressed with Carlos Florenciañez. He was used mostly as a sub, but he contributed when he came on. Made a difference, i think.

  • Comment number 5.

    United have done well with the twins, but equally they also took Possebon, who after early promise struggled. No club can have a magic formula, but I think the twins have done well because of their attitude, and because they have had the support of each other.

  • Comment number 6.

    #3. It's not the title; see the first line of the article: "Have Chelsea done a good deal..."

  • Comment number 7.

    Piazon didn't actually look that good in the u17 matches, but you can clearly see that he is a very technical player like most brazilians and the brazil team that he played in demolished almost every team in their path in those u17 championships. But it will really depend on how much he wants to make it in england and how much desire he has, will he stay behind and work extra hard on his game, will he get stronger and will he be able to adapt to the physical nature of the english game, i personally think that he will, brazilians are hungry to succeed and he has the qualities to become a great player no doubt about it.

  • Comment number 8.

    It will be very hard for Piazon to make the cut at Chelsea. Look at what happened to Franco Di Santo.

  • Comment number 9.

    Tim, from his three goals, one did come in the second phase, against Paraguay in a 3-1 win.
    Lucas Piazon made 7 starts and actually played off the front strikers, so i think it was a fairly decent return. He had a good tournament from what i saw of him and was the main link between the midfield (what made Brazil better than the rest) and the lone striker Leó.

    With his physical frame i fully expect Lucas Piazon to handle the pressure and difficulty of the Premier League and display his outrageous potential.

  • Comment number 10.

    Time will tell if he makes it

  • Comment number 11.

    How has nobody mentioned the factor of chelsea's growing south american influence, especially evident in their playing staff at the moment. Also the major factor off Carlo Ancelotti who raised Kaka and began the process again with Pato. Whilst as a chelsea fan i would have preferred his compatriot Lucas or the obvious Neymar or indeed Paulo Henrique but he obviously has potential as mentioned and these are the risks worth taking in my opinion if he turns out world class Chelsea look like the clever ones if he doesn't we sell him on and take a loss on 10 mill.

  • Comment number 12.

    I must admit I watched a decent bit of the under 17s tourno and I wasnt at all impressed with him. And the prevelance of free kicks was astonishing! He simply wont protection like that here. Vidic will smash him a few times (fairly) and then we will see what hes made of

  • Comment number 13.

    #5

    To be fair to Possebon, his development was lately ruined by the fact that he got a broken leg when he played for the first team in the FA Cup against (iirc) it was Middlesbrough.

    I think Piazon is in the same situation that Lulaku of Anderlecht is in too, he is also a much more physically developed player for his age, he's like Drogba level of physical development at the age of 18/19 which is why he is apparently worth 15-20million, but its not a good investment right now, because of when others catch up, will he find he's not as good as he thought?

  • Comment number 14.

    2 and 6 - deplorable reading comprehension skills make you this week's candidate for the title of Cannot Follow Simple Narrative.
    No grace, no shades, no subtlety - you just want a yes or no answer. The point behind this blog - can you really have missed it? - is an examination of some of the factors that make it too early to tell.

  • Comment number 15.

    Chelsea will have a very samba feel in a few years - Alex, Luiz, Ramires, Piazon and Neymar!

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Tim

    You mention that had the Da Silva twins stayed in Brazil they wouldn't have learnt how to defend as well, is there any reason for this other than the obvious that Man Utd are one of the best/riches clubs in the world with the best coaches. I ask as I read you defend the myth many a time that football in Brazil isn't all about the mentality of we'll score one more than you.

  • Comment number 17.

    Tim, I love that you dont shy away from responding to criticism like in #14.

    Anyway, it seems a strange deal, the guy doesnt look good enough to warrant being snapped up so early. I think the standard of the Brazilian league has improved in the last few years, especially with Brazilian internationals returning home to play. It seems to me that it makes more since to let some of these kids break through in the Brazilian league to see if they can make it there as its a better gauge for that now than in previous years.

    I know the valuation might increase with a successful season or two in Brazil but its certainly lower risk.

    I also noticed Marcelo Biesla left his post at Chile and was recently linked with Herucles FC job in Spain. I personally think he deserves a bigger job. Where do you see him going next? Are his methods too different for a top half job in one of the stronger European leagues?

  • Comment number 18.

    I think Piazon would have benefitted from waiting a few years before making his big move. He hasn't even experienced a game in the Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the Champion's League.

  • Comment number 19.

    more sense*

    Excuse me, its late!

  • Comment number 20.

    16 - it's because the Da Silva twins are full backs - which in Brazil are usually seen more as attackers than defenders. When he took on the Brazil job, Mano Menezes mentioned this as a big headache for him - the fact that Brazilian full backs are not taught to defend (lots become attacking midfielders in Europe - think Mancini or Michel Bastos).
    Brazilian teams have balanced this out with the central midfielders becoming more defensive, providing cover for the attacking full backs - or by using three centre backs.

  • Comment number 21.

    17 - would love to see Bielsa with a European club - he had just started with Espanol when the Argentina job came knocking in 98 -. back then he didn't see himself as a national team coach - he thought his methods needing the prolonged time on the training ground that only club coaches have.

  • Comment number 22.

    Interesting blog Tim!

    I think there is risk at ANY transfer. Just look at the way Torres is playing at Chelsea. How long will he last?

    I would also add another question: Do you think Roman Abramovich will have the patience to wait Piazon’s development? He seems a bit impatient to me.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Chelsea's record in recent years with trusting youth is an important point. Josh McEachran is an exception, although I think his inclusion owes much to injuries in Chelsea's midfield. Sturridge in particular has proved at Bolton that hes ready but got very few opportunities at Chelsea, and that was before Torres was signed.

  • Comment number 24.

    He won't play for a while I don't think, will need to go out on loan like they finally did with Borini. If Sturridge can't get a game when he gets back from Bolton I don't see how Piazon will, young Daniel has proven so far that he is ready for the Premiership.

  • Comment number 25.

    What do you think of Adryan? I was far more impressed with him.. and it doesn't seem like he has any physical advantages that made him look beter.. quick striker that has a very successful rate of passing his opponents, a lot like Lucas

    I am very excited about lucas and adryan.. but I am worried about the hype around Neymar.. call me crazy but Neymar makes many mistakes on 1v1 situations, runs to many wrong places when he is in a clutch situation, and his striking isn't that impressive either. But then again I don't really share any similar views to my fellow countrymen.. Mark my words : lucas da silva and adryan will do well.. neymar will flop

  • Comment number 26.

    I've gotta agree with John Paz - this was a pointless read.

    As a Chelsea fan i was really excited when reading the title, but have learnt nothing whatsoever come the end of the article. You're meant to be informative, but the only info i could garner was as list of players that have flopped over recent years. Very helpful.

    I think everyone knows that not every promising young player goes on to be world beaters - and the reasons as to why too. Difference with Piazon is that a top European club has decided he's got something over the others & paid a really hefty sum for him.

    Why him and not some other kid? He must have something special about him surely? That's what we want to know.

    It's no wonder you get so few posts on your articles; especially with your bitter retorts to any slight criticisms. Even valid ones. You come across as snobby, Tim.

  • Comment number 27.

    Interesting blog as ever Tim. Oddly enough most of us at Old Trafford have felt that Fabio was the less aggressive, more defensive twin, at least until the FA Cup match v Arsenal last month when we saw more of his midfield nous. I agree with you that they're good buys for Utd, but innately Rafael still also looks more a long-term right midfielder than a full-back to me. Once again, time will tell!! no #5 - I do agree that part of the Da Silva's success has been the friendship & bond they have with each other, as well as the older Portuguese speakers at the club. As for Possebon he failed partly through injury and partly through attitude - wasn't hard to find him out enjoying Manchester's nighlife a little often for a fan's liking!!


  • Comment number 28.

    Piazon clearly has what it takes. However, won't play for a while I don't think, will need to go out on loan like they finally did with Borini. I think there is risk at ANY transfer. Just look at the way Torres is playing at Chelsea. How long will he last? Only time will tell as in gotomeeting.

  • Comment number 29.

    -26 Lucas has not even played senior level football for Sao Paulo yet.

    Having watched the U-17 WC myself I really don't know what more could have been added to his assessment of Piazon. Youth team games asides, he's just not played that much.

    Regarding the hefty sum, it's an awful lot of money for someone who won't be in the Chelsea 1st team any time in the next few seasons. Like a lot of transfers nowadays I think we shouldn't underestimate the role of agents in the whole affair.

  • Comment number 30.

    #17- Marcelo Bielsa has been linked with the Sevilla job not to my knowledge with the one at Hercules. But with Gregorio Manzano lifting Sevilla up recently, in part thanks to the winter signing of one of Bielsa's Chilean national team players, defensive midfielder Gary Medel, the Sevilla job may not be open this summer.

    Newell's Old Boys now have a coaching opening as Roberto Sensini stepped down. I would love to have Bielsa return home (where the stadium is named after him) but even Newell's sporting director Gustavo Dezotti knows [a] Bielsa is not ready to come back to the club again and [b] they can not afford him now anyhow. My hope is at least before he retires Bielsa will coach Newell's one last time.

    As for predicting professional success from youth stars, that is as everybody knows, a very difficult proposition. it is tough enough with U20 players, even more difficult with U17. Look at the winners of the Golden Ball at the U17 World Cup since 1997, only a few of them have made real impacts as professionals:

    2009-Sani Emmanuel (Nigeria)
    2007-Toni Kroos (Germany)
    2005-Anderson (Brazil)
    2003-Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
    2001-Florent Sinama Pongolle (France)
    1999-Landon Donovan (USA)
    1997-Sergio Santamaria (Spain)

    So with Fabregas and Donovan you have two stars, Anderson, a solid enough pro on the fringe of Brazil's national team but hardly a star, Sinama Pongolle, a first division professional but often a reserve at his respective clubs, Kroos a young player showing promise and a sub with Germany and Emmanuel, still too young to determine what will become of him. And Sergio Santamaria? Currently playing in the 4th level of professional football in Spain! This for the player who won the top prize in a tournament which also featured Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iker Casillas, Seydou Keita and Gabriel Milito.

    Soccer Futbol Forum:
    http://z8.invisionfree.com/Soccer_Futbol_Forum/index.php

  • Comment number 31.

    26 - if i didn't react to, and defend myself against, accusations of being pointless (hardly a 'slight criticism') then I would have no worth whatsoever as a writer.

    Both you and J Paz think this piece is pointless because you've missed the point. You wanted a definitive opinion on Lucas Piazon - and the article is arguing that at his age such a judgement is very, very difficult.

    You found the piece totally uninformative - you knew that Lucas Piazon had scored 9 goals in the South American Under-15 Championships and 3 in the Under-17s. You were familiar with the histories of Kerlon, Figueroa and Lulinha. You were there in Peru to see Anderson and Giovanni Dos Santos shine in the 2005 World Under-17 Cup, you've sat through lectures of Brazilian youth specialists talking about the phenomenon of footballers' late adolescence.

    Fair enough, but I think you're in a small minority.

    To my mind a wider discussion on some of the issues affecting the development of U-17 players is more interesting than a premature judgement on Lucas Piazon - but that is where we disagree.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Tim, great article as always. All these investments in young players especially from Latin America is similar to venture capital investments in start up companies. Some may go on to become the star players or ubiquitous companies like 'Google' while some may fritter away like 'Boo.com'.

    I hope I did not sound insensitive, comparing companies to people, but this seems an analogy.

    Also, I understand Mexico is not in South America, but it would be great if you could let your thoughts on it, now and then. For instance, Chicharito for Man Utd, is possibly the next global superstar!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Tim, who do you think will win between Man United and Chelsea tonight?

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Great blog as ever Tim. I really cant understand how people can miss the point by such as distance and then show their clear lack of intellect by criticising! It was be nice to have a dunce hat button next to each comment so we can let others know the extent of their stupidity!

    I'm keen to know what you think the rule should be when it comes to acquiring such players? Do you even think there should be one?

    I appreciate that many of these big European clubs have excelllent coaching staff and facilities but so do a number of clubs in Brazil. To my mind, it seems utterly ridiculous to expect somebody under the age of 21 to leave home, learn a new language and achieve on unknown territory.

    Shouldnt these big European clubs show a little more consideration for the talent they hope to drive their respective club forward by arranging to loan these prestigeous young players straight back to their existing clubs to gain more experience and more importantly, to mature?

  • Comment number 36.

    Tim, great blog.

    I'm extremely impressed with your vast knowledge of south American football and the passion that you convey within your blogs.

    Also excellent retort to the 2 haters. I might add that the reason you do not get many posts in due to the fact that you blogs are informative, well thought out, clear and objective.

    As a Chelsea fan I'm reliant on these types of blogs and YouTube to try and get a heads up on World football. I'd really like to see Neymar join the blues, however are there any other wingers/ forwards that we should look out for from that region?

  • Comment number 37.

    @ John Paz - give it a rest. Dont you have a job to do rather than coming on here criticising others journalistic ability? As Tim has already told you, you've missed the point of the article. It was never meant to tell you the things you wanted to know.

    That doesnt mean that Tim should have to accept you cricital opinion.

    If you want to find out, why dont you try Wikipedia, or contacting Chelsea?

    And please dont accuse others of belitting or being offensive when you are using the very same tactic to make and defend your utter pointless and uneducated opinion.

    I find it offensive that i had to waste my time reading your comment in the first place, let alone be annoyed to the extent that i felt compelled to post a reply.

    Perhaps you could do us all a favour a button it.

  • Comment number 38.

    Piazon will join Chelsea in January 2012, so there is plenty of time for him to play for Sao Paulo's first team. And he must have something special about him if not only us (Chelsea) were interested in him, but also Juventus. I too saw some of Brazils games in the U-17 championships and from what I saw he linked the play together well and has a good shot on him. 3 goals in 7 games doesn't sound like such a bad return.

  • Comment number 39.

    John Paz,

    I think it is my duty to remind you that Tim Vickery and so does not set out to write the article that YOU want to read... which seems to be some kind of profound analysis/extensive autobiography of young Mr Piazon... (im guessing you are a chelsea fan and this would explain why all you really want is to know about your new signing).

    That is not what Tim has wrote about.... While we are all very sorry for you that the piece is not exactly what you wanted to read about, this fact does not render it pointless!!!

    I will agree that the combination of the title + the first sentence can give the impression that the piece will be more focused on Piazon but, quite quickly it becomes clear that the opening line question "have Chelsea done a good deal in acquiring...." is just a lead into the discussion of the difficulties/factors to consider when analysing the potential talent of a young South American coming over to Europe.

    Which frankly, Tim would know a thing or two about... I always really enjot the articles on the youngsters and the reasons why they do and do not succeed.

    To be honest, I think it is quite blindingly obvious that as yet, Tim is not yet convinced about Piazon! Not sure how you didn't see that yourself.

    I thought Tim's first reply was maybe a bit condescending perhaps but, this is not a 'Customer - Client" relationship where he has to (or should, for that matter) care about offending anyone with his opinions...

    In a situation very different to online journalism, he (and the others) are subjected to instant, constant "feedback" often from idiots who actually know very little about sport, on forums such as these, and I personally dont see why we should expect him and other bloggers to treat us with the utmost respect as if they were valued "customers"...

    Especially when he and his fellow writers have to put up with some frankly, incredibly disrespectful and insulting comments that forum users dish out on a regular basis (to a lesser extent with Tim, am thinking someone like Phil McN here), so why should we demand any different?

    Good article again though, but my faveourite of yours is still when you covered the arsenal braga game, sounding enthralling

  • Comment number 40.

    wow it is a bit early:
    * ...that Tim Vickery does not set out to write....

    *enjoy the articles...

    * in a situation very different to OFFLINE journalism....

    *favourite

  • Comment number 41.

    to be honest, any blog that tells me whats new and up-coming in South America is well worth reading. I think this it's a good topic too, you could probably write a good many articles on Kerlon alone. I think it's best for young Brazilians to go to 'minor' European leagues first - Ronaldinho benefitted for a couple of easy-ish years in Paris to find his feet in Europe. I don't really think Chelsea is a good place to start. And South American forwards tend to struggle in the PL. You have to be aggressive, look at the South american players who have done well - Rafael, Tevez, Gilberto Silva, Lucas even...all aggressive, combative, pragmatic players. I suppose Chicarito is another example - a functional forward, without the frills of Dos Santos but more effective at PL level

  • Comment number 42.

    #13

    Lukaku is playing in the senior Belguim league with one of the top teams Anderlecht. He also finished top scorer there last season. He is playing against other grown men in a respected European team.

    I don't think that the Belguim league is at the level of the PL but the players he is playing against are senior level

  • Comment number 43.

    I really do not understand the criticism. The journalist highlights an ongoing trend in major european trying to cherry pick new south american talent. He gives examples that show this can be a positive or negative experience for both club and player and refuses to be drawn on what the player will develop into. I am sure that if Tim was in a position to give a categorical answer on this he might be able to make a better living than he currently does as a BBC journalist! :)

    Stick to Lee Mason if you want to know if something is 'well good'.

    P.S. I have enjoyed other blogs of his more btw...... but really do not feel we have a right to complain when you consider the quality of other bloggers on this website!!



  • Comment number 44.

    Chelsea will have a very samba feel in a few years - Alex, Luiz, Ramires, Piazon and Neymar

  • Comment number 45.

    Chelsea have chosen to invest in Lucas Piazon because they hope he will be the next big thing. It's similar to the punt that Barcelona took on Lionel Messi (when he was 13), that Man Utd took on Cristiano Ronaldo (when he was 18) and PSV Eindhoven on the Brazilian Ronaldo back when he was 18. There's nothing more that can be said about it than that. I suspect that Chelsea fans want Tim to write a blog going "Lucas Piazon, what a player, he's got loads of skills, he's gonna be the next Ronaldinho innit"

    However, this is not a fanzine, Tim Vickery is not a Chelsea FC employee or a braindead idiot, and he would prefer to discuss the factors that aid the development of a young player, particularly in regard to the career of a young Brazilian moving to the environment of England.

    To 44. Chelsea have already signed Neymar? News to me. Sometimes I just feel Chelsea fans could just behave with a bit more class. We all know you've got money, have a bit of humility too. It's not difficult.

  • Comment number 46.

    Quique Sanchez Flores will be leaving Atletico Madrid in the summer... Bielsa could end up there, it wouldn't surprise me !

  • Comment number 47.

    "Great blog as ever Tim. I really cant understand how people can miss the point by such as distance and then show their clear lack of intellect by criticising! It was be nice to have a dunce hat button next to each comment so we can let others know the extent of their stupidity!"

    Please don't suck up - it makes you look just as stupid. I got the 'point' of the article, i just didn't see the 'point' in making said point.

    Tim, i didn't call you or your blog pointless - i just said this particular article was. Fair enough, maybe i'm in the minority in thinking that; it was probably just because i was keen to read more about Piazon rather than some of the many could-of-beens of south american football. Being a Chelsea fan and given the title it disappointed a bit.

    I appreciate that it's very hard to tell whether he will make it or not at this stage, but could you tell me what it is that's made my club pick him over any other young Brazillian talent? They're in plentiful supply over there - as you yourself pointed out. He must have something that sets him apart now - especially for the multi-million fee they paid for him. Or is it really just that he's quite big for his age? I'd hope our scouts aren't that naive...

  • Comment number 48.

    Excellent read, contrary to what a vocal minority have said(good to see you shut them up btw)

    I've been intrigued with the likes of Ronaldinho, Luis Fabiano and Elano, amongst others returning to South America. What do you think their motives are for this move? Is the intention to try and rebuild their repuatation and get a move back to a top European team, as Adriano did? Or are they simply looking to play out the twilight of their career at the top of their game in their home country?

  • Comment number 49.

    I do a power endurance sport which is largely about physiology, and at junior level it's easy to see the difference that early physical development can make.

    There are people at J16 level who are much better then the rest of their age group, they represent Great Britain at their age group, but when they get to J18 they are suddenley not at the top any more and some lose their confidence and struggle to compete at the top end.

    Then, when they are too old for the junior set up they find they are not really any better then the average adult competitor.

    At least in football there is a large technical side to the game which you can judge a player on, as well as their physial attributes.

  • Comment number 50.

    dont forget ronaldinho come out of this tournament so there can be success's as did messi two world great but i agree there can be failures.

  • Comment number 51.

    to 42. lukaku is a 6''4 and has great strength thus comparison with drogba but has ability to come through as a great what a team belgium will have in few years with vertonghen,kompany,alderweild in defence defour,fellaini,witsel,hazard in midfield and lukaku,vossen, in attack what a potentially great team any opinions on this

  • Comment number 52.

    The criticisms are essentially correct in that the premise of the article is a fairly basic one, and like many very deceptively simple questions, the answer is entirely inconclusive.

    However, I am more than happy to have read an interesting and thought provoking article that does not answer it's main question.

    I am happy because it explores the inherrent difficulties in investing in young talent. It looks at the gambles taken by Clubs as they try and predict the future. It looks at the often disappointing failures to convert youthful talent into an adult world and the reasons behind the failures. It covers the emerging talent coming from South America.

    So what do you prefer?

    Q. Has Chelsea done a good deal?
    A. I would really like to say yes or no, but experience has shown it is far too early to tell.

    or the blog above?

  • Comment number 53.

    I will tell you what will happen to Piazon. He will appear in the fist team, play a few games, come in as a sub know and again, throw a tantrum and then sold for hoepfully a profit within a year. This is the fate that awaits him sadly.

  • Comment number 54.

    No 47 - Tim actually has mentioned some of the reasons why Chelsea may have made this signing; i.e. two good feet, good in the air, goalscoring history, etc...

    Tim - love the retorts against the criticism, and love the blog as always. Wish some of the other BBC Sport writers would defend themselves rather than always being diplomatic, there really are some pathetic people who have nothing better to do than criticise. Nothing wrong with valid and constructive criticism of course, but it usually isn't.
    By the way, that comment is aimed more at some of the other blogs, as the critcisms on here have been fairly mild by comparison.

    Keep up the good work

  • Comment number 55.

    Tim,

    While I enjoyed reading your blog and did found it informative (as always) - I do have some sympathy with those saying it should have taken more of a view.

    While you (probably correctly) argue that it is very difficult to decide on how good a player a teenager will eventually become - unfortunately there are scouts, coaches and managers that have to make these sorts of choices.

    So what would you advise them to do? Give up and go home? Never buy a single young player again but it is just luck? I don't think many of these guys have that luxury to opt out of making a decision because it is too difficult...

    I suppose this is what separates all of us that write blogs and comments and never need to actually make a choice like this, and those actually involved in the game that need to stop the talk and actually make a decision...

  • Comment number 56.

    Tim, #14 and 30: you are an excellent and interesting sports writer, the best on BBC Online. The only fault I've noticed is that you tend to over-react to criticism and negative or ignorant comments. There's no need for that reaction - the dross happens on all blogs, and you get a great majority of positive and engaged comments. Yes, you can correct ill-informed comments, but you'll be more effective in doing so if you don't react emotionally to criticism.

    Offered with peace and goodwill.

  • Comment number 57.

    Great blog Tim, as ever a really enjoyable read.

    Sorry if I have missed this, but how much did Chelsea pay for Piazon?

  • Comment number 58.

    @13 - regarding Lukaku.

    Lukaku has been playing senior football for a couple of seasons now, it's irrelevant whether players of his own age will catch up cus he's still banging in goals against the big boys in Belgium.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sincerely, I was informed and interested by this article. Great blog, the most original and imaginative, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 60.

    For what it's worth, I enjoyed the article and would throw in Johnnier Montano as another example of why it's nigh on impossible to ask anyone to make a definitive judgement of young players heading to Europe.

    In fact, Tim, you will not need reminding about Raphael Scheidt will you?

    Once bitten...

  • Comment number 61.

    Long Live Tim Vickery - can't remember where it was, but I heard you on TV the other day...can't remember what you said either, but basically it was some random story about something random that happened in South America. And it was funny.

    Supportofthecursed - Tim is a reporter. As such, he reports on what's happened. It's not for him to make proclamations about what will or will not happen in the future. He can only furnish you witht he information for you to come to your own conclusion. And as any half intelligent football fan knows, you simply cannot judge how good a player will be when he is only 17. It's a futile and pointless exercise. All Tim is doing is reporting on the situation and giving some background info. In my opinion, it would have been a much weaker article, and Tim a much poorer jounalist if he had decided one way or another if the lad was going to be a great/good/average/poor player, because in the end no one knows. Much more talented players will have come through and miraculously disapperad, just as some seemingly average players will go on to be come great.

  • Comment number 62.

    Having watched Shaktar Donetsk's success in the Champions league this season (until coming up against Barcelona) how do people in Brazil feel about their players there and other clubs in Eastern Europe?

  • Comment number 63.

    Another great read Tim, really enjoy the blog. Will look out for Piazon. Hope the young lad succeeds. Often think, like you say, that it must be difficult for these young lads coming to foreign lands, struggle with the language and get paid extremely well.

    It appears that at Utd they perhaps get just as much support off the pitch as they do on it, and that is crucial. I think people forget that these guys are still just kids and the temptations they face must be hard to resist for guys so young.

  • Comment number 64.

    Tim, what are your thoughts of spain being invited to the 2011 copa america, is this the final nail in the coffin for the farce that is international football?

  • Comment number 65.

    Whilst the title could be judged as slightly misleading, i really don't understand the pointless criticism my some people regarding the article.

    What the article does do is address some very crucial debates, about the age and adaptablility of young South American's making the move to Europe.

    Tim, i know there has been many debates on South American player's moving too early in there careers, but with certain cases i.e the Da Silva twins do you think there are actually some real benefits in a club getting them in this extremely early age?

    With the right coaching would it be easier to train and educate players of say 16 or 17 years old than 19 or 20 years of age. By getting Piazon at such an early age it will give Chelsea's coaches extra time to mentally and physically prepare him for life in a toally different culture and football environment.

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil, the problems in the title, not the article. Surely you can understand a chelsea fans frustration when he sees the title, clicks on the page wanting to find out your view on Piazon and whether he will come good for Chelsea and for the reasons Chelsea bought him at such a price only to find an article mainly about South American players with promise who haven't delivered. Lulinha, Kerlon, Giovan Dos Santos and Anderson. Fair enough you mention the Silva twins and Mascherano but these players have hardly set the world alight. The article could be perceived as negative and a little more mention of young players that have succeeded wouldn't go a miss! Or give the article a different title? Then again you probably want to get as many people as possible looking at the blog and the title although not accurate to the article has certainly done that.

  • Comment number 67.

    Thanks for the blog Tim, as always it shines a light on a world of football that we rarely see here in the UK. All the focus is on the EPL and the CL. I'm loving the twins at my club, that is despite the poor decision that was taken by Rafael against Bayern last year. The hope is that they can also pave the way for others who want to venture up north.

    Don't worry about the haters, they can't help themselves.

  • Comment number 68.

    Unfortunate that South American players end up moving to Europe so early without having the chance of developing in their home countries, but money talks and there's no stopping this trend. In any case and judging by Chelsea's track record (ie. Torres, italian coach, etc), I wouldn't expect much of this signing either.

    The jury is still out on another "New Pele": Neymar. Seems to have the skill but not the personality. Getting sent off against Colo Colo after scoring a superb goal for not knowing the rules of the game and then his reaction toward the referee left a lot to be desired.

    He's already had disciplinary problems in the past and got away with it, so obviously he hasn't learned a thing, has he?

    Hopefully he won't self-destruct once he moves to a less forgiving European league where he won't be able to get away with all his tantrums.

  • Comment number 69.

    While it's true that those with poor reading comprehension might believe this article was about making some magical prediction, predictions are not journalism.

    Journalism is about facts.

    The future is not yet a fact, ergo you cannot write about it with any confidence.

    Indeed, a big part of my ongoing complaint directed at BBC Sport's journalists - with the exception of Tim Vickery and one or two others - is that they are all too willing to make predictions... that then, understandably, turn out to be utterly wrong. There are too many to point out, so a random example for you.

    Club A is second in the league, behind Club B. Club A and Club B meet, with Club B at home. Form suggests a Club B victory. Various pundits predict a tight affair, with Club B edging it. But Club A then win, strongly.

    Various same pundits then write pieces about how Club A are "resurgent", and Club B clearly haven't "come of age". Club B perhaps were boys facing men. Club B won't win a thing. It'll be their year next year, if then.

    Club B then win the title.

    Since nobody knew what was going to happen, none of those predictions were worthwhile. All they really did was make the fans of Club A like the journalists.

    Making people like you is not journalism. Making people think about reality by reporting it, is.

  • Comment number 70.

    @68

    It is not merely about money. There is a perception that several leagues in Europe are the "elite" leagues - namely Spain, England, Germany, Italy. Because they have the best players, the perception naturally enough is that they have the best coaches and managers, too.

    Any player wants to play with the best, be trained by the best, and be lead by the best.

    The money certainly helps, but I remain fairly convinced that the real lure is not, in fact, the money. Sure, as a player, you want to squeeze as much cash out of your career - sport in general is a short career compared to any other - but that doesn't make it the prime motivator.

    Being the best is the motivation for the vast majority. Enjoying your play is another. Both of these needs are best met by playing with the best, being trained by the best, and being lead by the best.

    Europe remains the place seen as best to do that.

    Although one could argue for some time as to the standard of coaching in much of Europe... especially England.

  • Comment number 71.

    Many South American players and their talents are wasted because of chasing after the mighty euro/pound. Coming from mostly poor backgrounds, who can blame them?.

    However, instead of going straight to top teams in Europe, they should be advised to go to less stronger leagues where they'll develop as players and get used to the European ways.

    Ronaldo and Romario are two examples of great players who started off their European experience in the Netherlands and so by the time they moved on to a stronger league, they were ready. Ronaldinho started off in France and was able to polish his game before moving on and succeeding in Spain.

    The culture shock is way too big for South American players to just jump into the limelight in a big club and triumph. Besides having to change their playing style to suit the European tactical shackles, they have to cope with a totally different environment which results in many players not performing to the level they used to in South America.

    Matias Fernandez is another example of this waste of talent. South American player of the year not long ago, total flop in Europe. Another case of moving too fast, too soon. Unfortunately, he won't be the last.

  • Comment number 72.

    @70 No doubt that everyone wants to play with the best and in the "elite" leagues of Europe. My point is that most of these players are not prepared for that yet and do not have the right coaching/advice, so they may end up going for a big club when at that early stage in their playing careers, they should be more concerned with developing as players rather than trying desperately to achieve the limelight which may result in a very short, frustrating career.

  • Comment number 73.

    Good article, especially with regards to players looking good at the Under-17 level and not so good at the Under-20 level.

    Regarding Elias Figueroa, I believe (could be wrong) he was sold to an Australian team but quickly came back to Liverpool (Uruguay).

    And gotta disagree with you on Giovanni Dos Santos, I rank him as a top 5 Mexican player, he certainly has more quality than Nery Castillo, I think in terms of what he can give you, he's right there with Carlos Salcido and Andres Guardado... is he better than Luis Hernandez? Probably not... but I think Tottenham got rid of Dos Santos too quickly. Not all Mexican players are ready to play in Europe, but I think Dos Santos is.

    BTW what do you think of Ricardo LaVolpe? Don't know if you've been monitoring his progress with Costa Rica... is he still chain smoking like there's no tomorrow?

  • Comment number 74.

    56 - please note that my responses to criticism are always written with a big smile on my face, not in some emotional funk - all part of the fun of the fair.

    55 - an awkward one. we're dealing with human beings here, and there is no 'one size fits all' approach - as the article states, Man U seem to have done well with the Da Silva twins - though again, as the article states, in their case, as full backs, there was a compelling technical case for bringing them over.

    European clubs, though, are not obliged to buy Under-17 players. Back to the Mascherano example - he, along with Daniel Alves, was one of the players I picked out for World Soccer magazine after the 2003 U-20 Championships - a clued up European club could have made a move for him then (Alves joined Sevilla soon afterwards). But U-17 is so treacherous.

    We recently has this year's U-20s. Now, graduates from the last U-17s, 2 years ago, are at a disadvantage - they are a year younger than most of the other players (in this case they are 1992, when the U-20 limit was 1991).

    Even taking this into account, it was striking how some of those who had done so well in 2009 at U-17 level were unable to repeat their success at U-20 - Araujo of Argentina, Cardona and Castillo of Colombia, Gallegos of Uruguay. It doesn't mean at all that these are bad players and have no future - but it does cast doubt on some of the conclusions that might have been reached about them when they were starring at U-17 level.

  • Comment number 75.

    cheers

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi

    Very interesting article. I'd like to know more about Mascherano, how on earth did he play for Argentina before River Plate? Why had River never introduced him earlier as it was obvious from his performances at youth level that he had the talent?

  • Comment number 77.

    I firmly believe that it is important to look at reasons that players fail to fulfil their potential in order to learn for the future. I believe that is is detrimental to a player to be playing at the very highest level too early. A male human peaks physically at the age of around 25 and therefore, all effort should be made to maximise the athlete at that age.

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't believe in resting the players either as a lot of development is equally mental and physical. Youngsters should play as often as possible, but possibly at a lower level of competition. This has done brilliant things for the careers of the very best players who have peaked at around 25 and carried it through until their 30's. With a lot of youngsters who play at the very top - their best years are often behind them at 25.

  • Comment number 79.


    To support my point, the likes of Giovane Elber, Emerson, Gabriel Batistuta, Rivaldo, Mendieta were players who were never hailed as teenage prodigies but developed steadily into their peak before becoming world class.

  • Comment number 80.


    Players such as Andres D'Alessandro, Pablo Aimar, Javier Portillo, Ivan Kaviedes, Roque Santa Cruz are players who never developed at the lower level of competition and their careers did not take off as expected - but not for reasons attached to ability.

  • Comment number 81.

    57 - the reported fee for Lucas Piazon (nothing official) was around 7.5 million Euros. Had Chelsea waited until the end of the U-17 tournament, that price might have come down a bit, because he was good but not great, and much less decisive than he had been with the Under-15s.
    Hence the comment at the top about Sao Paulo being happy with the deal - essentially they have Luis Fabiano plus cash

  • Comment number 82.

    BladeRunner,

    Very good point regarding the choice of European destination for South American's. A great example of two players shining in the so called less stronger league's this season are Porto's striker's Hulk and Falcao.

  • Comment number 83.

    Those who do not understand the huge difficulties in predicting a players future abilities from a very young age should perhaps spend more time analysing your own teams youth academies. Time and again the players who shine the brightest there do not go on to succeed in the same way as those who take a more gradual approach. The Giggs-Beckham era youth team of Man Utd should tell us this much. In with Scholes, Giggs, Becks and the like were the then as equally promising group of Robbie Savage, Lee Sharpe and Keith Gillespe. Whilst all three of these had great footballing careers they do not come close to the other talents supplied by the Man Utd youth Academy of those days.

    Tim nails it with the psychology point - quite simply confidence does not come from any single aspect of a life but from that life as a whole. Irregardless of 'raw' talent, the handling of finances, fame, competition, physical toll, learning new languages, cultures and so on, simply take its effects on some more than others.

    Check out players such as Suarez who come to the fore in their early twenties..one sees his past record and wonders how no big club picked him up before Ajax saw his potential - the answer is, simply enough, that there were loads of kids with the same or better scoring records who are nowhere to be found now..it takes time to see what a person is really like, especially a teenager!
    However this is not just a South American phenomenon...just check out your own doorstep, its happening in your teams youth club right now!

  • Comment number 84.

    Auqakuh

    I'd argue it's you with the 'poor reading comprehension' as i don't think anyone has asked for a prediction - you seem to have picked that out from thin air. All i wanted to know was a bit more about this youngster that my club has signed. That's what the title and opening sequence eluded to after all. The article didn't really tell us that much after that and it was disappointing in that respect.

    It wasn't a pop at Tim personally - in fact i usually like his articles, but that doesn't mean i have to conform and heap false praise when i'm disappointed too. I suppose if i did seem slightly annoyed in my first post it was more to do with what i perceive to be the callous and bitter retorts he often issues towards anyone who expresses anything other than universally positive responses. That being said, he says it's all done with a grin on his face so we'll leave it at that...

    Surely Tim with all his knowledge is the best person to tell us excited Chelsea fans about the kid? He lives in Rio after all; it's his job to keep up with the latest news there. There are many other thing's he could of told us... For example, whether or not he is thought of highly there? People were raving about Neymar when he was just 17 - is Piazon making the same kind of impact or is he still a relative unknown there?

    Furthermore I don't think anyone on this blog is naive enough not to realise that players sometimes flop and don't live up to expectations. But by your logic any scouts may as well just pack up and go home because it's no perfect science. Whatever; my point is you don't pay upwards of 9m for any and every promising 17yr old. He must have something about him that sets him apart - even at this age. Wouldn't you think?

    Perhaps he is an unknown and i'm just wrongly assuming that he's fairly well known over there because of his scoring record and now hefty transfer. If that's the case fair enough, i retract what i said. I don't expect Tim to know about all the would-be's of South American football, but i'd hope he could offer some additional insight into the very best young talents (which i'm assuming is what Piazon IS) that us armchair fans couldn't get just from a quick stats check on Wikipedia.

  • Comment number 85.

    #84

    Give it a rest. The only one sounding bitter is you.

  • Comment number 86.

    haters gonna hate

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi Tim,

    I agree with you at #81. Luis Fabiano is ready to play while Piazon is a promise to the future.

    But don’t you think that Chelsea’s investment on Piazon was also motivated by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations – that will start in 2013?

    There was a BBC article on that recently:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/9450671.stm

    I “guess” Chelsea is already concerned (as other teams may be) about their future financial balance. So they have made a bit of a gamble on Piazon because of that. What do you think?

  • Comment number 88.

    "He must have something about him that sets him apart - even at this age. Wouldn't you think" - yes you would. So why do you need Tim Vickery to spell it out for you? He's already said in the article what his basic skill set is - what more info do you want?

    You still seem to have not grasped the point of the article - the point is, his actual talents, which you want to know about in detail, are actually not massively relevant when assessing if he will be a success or not in Europe. It's the intagibles, the things outside basic physical and techincal skills, which will determine whether or not he is a success. And you can't asses these 'skills' simply by watching him play in Brazil. It's an exercise in futility, so as much as you want Tim to indulge, he won't, because he knows it's futile. He is trying to communicate this fact to you, to educate you about South American kids and the challenges they face. So instead of shouting at your screen 'yes but is he any good Tim' you will realise that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And you can't eat the pudding until it's arrived at your table.

    Your point about scouts is silly - it's not Tim's job to tell you whether or not a player is going to be any good. It's his job to report what has happened up till now, and give you the information to make your own assesment. He is not a scout.

    What 'additional insight' do you expect Tim to have on a 17 year old? He's not a private detective, and he's not a youth scout, so it's reasonable to say that Tim's experience of him is limited to the u17 champs - how much 'additional insight' can one man get from this? U17 and U19 champs are a notoriusly poor indicator of future stardom, so in my opinion the less you read into and analyse these tournaments, the better. Again, this is the point that Tim is making that you are unable to acknowlegde - the past pattern of young stars crossing the atlantic is a far better indicator of whether he will succeed in Europe than his performances in Brazils youth team. This is the point of the article, and is why it's not a detailed assesment of the boys games so far

  • Comment number 89.

    84 - there was fuss about Neymar from the age of around 13 - at 17 he was getting a game for Santos, so it was far easier to judge him - though he's had his ups and downs - he was a flop in the 2009 World U-17s, when the most hyped Brazil team in recent years extraordinarily were one of 6 sides (out of 24) knocked out in the group stage - helps show what an unreliable guide U-17 can be.

    There has indeed been talk of Lucas Piazon - the U-15 tournament a couple of years ago didn't get a lot of coverage, but he stood out for scoring so many goals (he was by some distance tournament top scorer).

    But he hasn't played senior level - so the big fuss about him was when Chelsea signed him - that put a lot of pressure on him in the U-17s, and my sense was that his increasing frustration in the tournament was based on his trying to live up to this 'new sensation of Chelsea' tag.

    Interesting point from 87 about Chelsea diving in because of the Fair Play regulations.

  • Comment number 90.

    My my, seems i'm unpopular here today!

    Gotta admit i wasn't much impressed with him at the U-17's, but you make fair points about pressure Tim. Hadn't thought of that, i guess the whole process will be taking an immediate effect on his development - even if he's not joining us until Jan. Just have to hope he's got the character to match the talent, then.

    He's got to turn out better than di Santo did anyway, surely...

    Adieu!

  • Comment number 91.

    @VoxPopuli #45: but how much did Barça paid for Messi, and how much ManU paid for young Cristiano Ronaldo?? Signing young players is always a risk, but exactly because its a bigger risk, you must analize how much was spent to sign those players. Imho, its a bad deal to spend so much money in a risk like Piazon. Even if he turns out to be a decent player, will his market value surpass what Chelsea paid for him?


    @TimVickery: Tim, any idea why Chelsea focused on São Paulo´s u-17 Lucas instead of the u-20 Lucas, an awesome player who has already proved to be quite good at the professional squad and also impressed in the match against Scotland? Just because of value difference, or maybe a failuse in scouting?


    @JohnPaz: you are looking the wrong blog pal. There is another writer who can much better predict the future of u-17 players. Check out www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/timnostradamus/

  • Comment number 92.

    great blog as always. as far as im aware, signing players as soon as they turn 18 will allow clubs to register them as 'homegrown' (having spent at least 3yrs under the age of 21 on the clubs books). so the potential rewards for signing U17 players has increased. as already pointed out, the impending FFP rules will also put greater pressure on clubs to sign players as young, inexpensive unknowns.

    manchester uniteds project with traffic is a great example of this, tying young talent to the club at the earliest possible opportunity, and also sidestepping the increased value a good u17 showing might bring by stipulating a fixed fee for any potential purchase. the first batch have just appeared for trials in the form of Gladstony, Aguilar, Lucas Evangelista, Agnaldo and Rafael Leao, and im sure therell be plenty more following. it seems united have recognised the risks eluded to in the blog, and are tackling the problem with sheer numbers!

  • Comment number 93.

    Interesting article as ever, a bit confused by the transfer though as I thought it was the other Lucas also of Sao Paulo who just got his first cap that was the better player. Have Chelsea maybe signed the wrong one?

  • Comment number 94.

    I dont know why most of people here are not impressed by piazon. I think that piazon has got what he seriously deserved.I saw him playing Under 15 south american championship.He was the top scorer , hitting 10 goals - twice as many as his nearest rival.There you can clearly see that he is a sound technical player like most brazilians and the brazil team.Its always great to see a talented player with such a great skills and moves.Time will tell that can he be next kaka.This Real Madrid star also came through at Sao Paulo before heading to Europe.Well i personally think he can be next maestro. Brazilians are always hungry to suceed and puts their 101% on fulfill their dream.

    shama praveen,
    c tutorial

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi Tim,

    What are your thoughts on current Parma and Brazil Under-20 player Zé Eduardo?

    How do you rate him as a prospect?

    In your view, is he the type of central midfielder who is capable of creativity and invention and providing quality passes from centerfield, or is he more of a player who specializes in marking rather than passing?

  • Comment number 97.

    This discussion reminds of similar discussions we have in the communication of science.

    There are things we simply don't know - we can make half-decent predictions, but an absolute yes or no is impossible. (Climate change is the classic).

    The average newspaper reader hates this. They often prefer stories such as "Wine cures cancer - fact", or MMR will give all your kids autism (and even though the evidence was tedious and possibly fraudulent the public still believe it. A bit like the hype around Freddy Adu.

    Anyway the best thing to do is try to give fascinating, well written insight outlining why things are uncertain - Tim does this better than almost any other football writer.

  • Comment number 98.

    I don't mind if Tim occasionally asks rhetorical questions (though some BBC journalists and headline-writers do it more often than I like). I read the blog and the comments partly because I often learn something I wasn't expecting to learn.

    What I've not seen reported is the length of the contract for Piazon, and his wages.
    Post Bosman, it's now (a bit) easier to estimate the future value of a player because they truly become a free agent again when the contract expires. So the resale value of Torres to Chelsea in five years time will be precisely zero. (Ignoring the obvious jokes. I'm an admirer of Torres and his acheivments in the PL).

    Many lesser players are traded for just a few million and Piazon, unlike Torres, is at the beginning of his career and so might be expected to have a decent resale value (before contract expiration) even if he doesn't make the big-time.
    A more useful comparison might be with another young player of "potential", perhaps with Theo Walcott (I'm neither a Chelsea nor Arsenal supporter). Knowing what we do about their abilities, wages, and transfer fees, which purchase would you say represents good value? I'd say Walcott looks a bit expensive (though I'd also admit that his injuries have now further reduced his long term valuation in my opinion.)

    As an aside, I wonder what Juventus were (reportedly) offering for Piazon?

  • Comment number 99.

    only time will tell, i bealive piazon will do the best on englsh prmer legue......

  • Comment number 100.

    This is the type of blog that really interests me. I'm a professional youth coach and worked at several pro clubs in England where I found a large percentage of coaches had an obsession with physical qualities of players. I now work in Mexico, where it's rare to ever come across a physically big player, and so the focus is much more on technical ability.
    At one club I worked at a very skilled young player was going to be released from the club at U14 level, whilst other, bigger but less technically gifted players were being kept on. "He's going to be a great little player when he's an adult" I said. "Yeah..............he's also going to be a midget!" Was the response I recieved! First of all, apart from being extremely un-p.c., that coach had obviously not heard of one Leo Messi at the time. He's now the Centre of Excellence manager at another pro club...........what chance have you got?!!!
    Players of the past that were billed as potential world-beaters but amounted to little include Danny Cademateri in England and Freddy Adu in America, where he was hyped as the first "superstar" of US football. They both dominated in age group competitions because they were strong, muscular, powerful kids, and Everton certainly believed they had something special on their hands when they found Cademateri, but the truth is, when both of those players arrived in the adult game, and weren't able to physically dominate or outpace grown men they were found out as actually being nothing more than average or just good players.
    When are we going to learn that technical ability determines the potential level you can play at, and the other sides of the game like physical characteristics, tactical awareness etc are simply the things that complete the package. If you're big, strong, fast & take up great positions it means nothing if you don't have the skills to produce with the ball.
    Thankfully in recent years Barcelona & the likes of Messi, Iniesta & Xavi have begun to change this horribly outdated philosophy, and long may it continue!
    The lad who's gone to Chelsea will be successful if he's good enough. End of. If his physical qualities rather than his technical qualities were what gave him the advantage at u17 level there's no guarentee he'll progress at the highest level of the adult game.

 

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