Scouting Leandro Damiao: Rumoured January Transfer Target for Tottenham
The Brazilian forward, who took a starring role at the London 2012 Olympics and remains a firm part of his nation's plans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, could command a fee of around £15 million. Everything we've seen from the striker so far suggests he's worth every penny.
Here's your lot on the big man.
Leandro is 6'2", so the automatic assumption is that he's a lumbering target man. That's an injustice to his perfectly well-rounded game, mixing traditional No. 9 presence with good footwork and ingenuity.
His starting position is as normal as it gets for a big centre-forward, and he generally hovers around the centre-backs to occupy their attention and stretch the pitch vertically.
The image, taken from Brazil's 3-0 triumph over South Korea at the Olympics, shows us the impact he has on a team's capabilities.
He aligns himself right on the centre-backs' toes, and his sheer size and ability often means the second centre-back will stick around to cover. Marcelo Bielsa will tell you that any player capable of occupying two opponents is worth his weight in gold.
Mano Menezes used a free-flowing midfield, and the team enjoyed the space Damiao created by making sure the pitch was as long as possible, thereby making the gaps between the lines as large as possible. The gap between the defensive and midfield lines he's created by inching forward here is the maximum you can ask for on a football pitch.
He offers a decent target for a quick 15-yard ball into his feet, and B/R's Chris Atkins believes he is at his weakest when playing with his back to goal. This is the area of his game that needs to improve the most.
He's proven himself an able finisher, scoring over 70 goals in an Inter shirt so far, whilst also bagging six in six for the Brazilian U23s.
But he's not just a striker who's deceptively quick despite his size, creating space for others and wreaking havoc in and around the box. What sets him apart is his close control—incomprehensible considering the length of his legs.
If Peter Crouch tried the following trick, he'd fall flat on his face.
For £15 million, Leandro Damiao is a snap-your-hand-off deal. The media often sensationalise transfers when it comes to "replacing African Cup of Nations-bound players," but it would only take a year or two for Damiao to become more important to AVB's Tottenham than Emmanuel Adebayor is.
While he's not a nailed-on starter for Luiz Felipe Scolari—Pato and Fred provide good competition at this stage—it would be best to secure this deal before the prestigious event.
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