Gerard Deulofeu – Barca Youth Product to Thrive at Sarri’s Napoli?

Recently, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis and Maurizio Sarri have seemed to confirm the clubs objective this January transfer window, find an attacking winger. In the midst of this, two names have risen to the top of the rumor mill. One player, Simone Verdi, I covered a few days ago, and today I will cover the 2nd man in that group, Barcelona winger, Gerard Deulofeu.

Where Does Gerard Line Up?

Deulofeu lines up predominantly as a Winger (with sprinkling in a few appearances as a CF) and as he’s grown, he has split that time up pretty evenly between the Left and right as you can see below:

In 16/17, with Everton and Milan respectively, he played in 31 matches, with 13 appearances at LW and 10 at RW.

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.28.13 PM
Source: Transfermarkt

and thus far this season at Barcelona, he has played 10 matches on the left, and 6 on the right:

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 11.30.33 PM.png
Source: Transfermarkt

So you can see, Gerard is able to play on both wings, and does provide cover for potentially both Jose Callejon, and Lorenzo Insigne

What are his strengths as a player?

  • Pace: Gerard has boat-loads of pace, and uses that to his advantage as an attacking player. He has incredible bursts, and can use that to his advantage in 1v1 situations, like this:
SmartSelectGIF_2018-01-09-23-50-20.gif
Gerard Deulofeu v Bologna in 2017
  • Dribbling: Deulofeu is a great dribbler on the ball. He can make defenders look absolutely silly.  and that flair can be used to create small spaces for him to take chances on goal like he does here:

 

  • Growth: This is more from the opinion side here, but at 23-years old, Deulofeu has the potential to still be growing into his game. He has played at high levels since a teenager, but I think there is still a LOT of upside in him. He has the technical acumen, and the pedigree to be a special player, and at his current rumored rate of 15 Million Euros, I think that the idea untapped potential is a good risk for Napoli

What can Gerard offer Napoli?

Tactically, Gerard provides us cover for each wing. He also comes from a youth system and current set-up that would be easy to integrate into Sarrismo. He understands the short passing, possession style game, and that is important when moving to any football club that plays as we do.

He could easily be an impact sub, coming on for Insigne or Callejon. Long-term though, I think we could potentially see a 18/19 Napoli side that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 12.15.52 AM.png

Conclusion:

I think Gerard Deulofeu would be an exceptional signing for the club. I think if he and Verdi are the two true options, I’d give the slight edge to the current Barcelona man. Not taking anything away form Verdi, who I also think offers a lot in a potential move, But I think it could be an exceptional investment for Sarri and Napoli to see Deulofeu come in, and I’ll tell you the last bit why….

He has the DNA of a winner, and of a place with exceptionally high expectations. Now, this can go either way, but seeing him in flashes at Everton, and then how well he played last season at Milan, and given his upside at still only 23 Years of age, that’s what would excite me most about the idea of this signing.


By Ken Cioffredi 

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