Rayo Vallecano

Scouting Report: Can Joaquin Larrivey Be the Next Michu in the Premier League?

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24:  Joaquin Larrivey of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid reacts after his team lost 4-1 against RCD Espanyol during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and RCD Espanyol at Estadio Teresa Rivero on November 24, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMarch 12, 2014

Could Rayo Vallecano centre-forward Joaquin Larrivey emulate Swansea City deep-lying forward Michu's success in the Premier League? Here is a scouting report on Larrivey, a 29-year-old Argentine No. 9.


Another Michu

Michu6'1"176 lbs
Larrivey 6'1" 179 lbs

Larrivey's physical tangibles are similar to Michu.

They have comparable traits: Hardworking, physical, opportunistic and wily late-bloomers.

Also, they share the same simplistic playing style: Capitalising on sloppy positioning from opposing defenders to poach goals.

Larrivey's off-the-ball running is exemplary, so it tells you his positional awareness is excellent.

That skill is perfectly complemented by his exceptional heading—he once scored a hat-trick of headers for Cagliari in a 6-3 defeat to Napoli in 2012—as he is aggressive in the air and throws himself at crosses. Here are a few examples of his heading ability:

Larrivey jumped high to forcefully head a Roberto Trashorras cross past Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas during Rayo's 2-1 loss.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

In Rayo's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo, Larrivey was the benefactor of a cross from Rayo substitute Adrian Embarba.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Larrivey took advantage of an Atletico Madrid defensive breakdown to net a header in Rayo's 4-2 defeat.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Another headed goal occurred when none of the Valencia players picked up Larrivey and he nodded home a cross from Rayo left-back Razvan Rat during the club's 1-0 win.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

In Rayo's 3-2 win over Real Sociedad, Larrivey won a penalty (which he converted) after being tripped by Sociedad left-back Jose Angel as he got in front of the defender.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Larrivey has also shown signs he can contribute in the team's build-up play, but his passing is still a work in progress:  

In this instance he dropped deep, received the ball and made an effortless cross-field pass to Embarba during Rayo's 2-0 win over Celta.

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Larrivey is not just a cumbersome centre-forward given that he backheeled Rayo left-back Nacho's pass into the path of Iago Falque

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Larrivey held up the ball against Atleti centre-back Miranda, played the ball to Trashorras, who teed Jonathan Viera up for a goal in Rayo's 4-2 defeat to Atleti

Source: LigaBBVA.com



Larrivey is a one-dimensional player, who is a passenger when crosses are not put into the box, as he has yet to score a league goal from open-play.

Here is a split up of his six goals in La Liga, per Squawka: Four headers and two right-footed penalties (Rayo's 3-2 win over Sociedad and 4-1 win over Malaga).

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Source: LigaBBVA.com

He does not take on players (0.1 dribbles per game) and he is a liability with a 67.6 pass completion percentage in Rayo manager Paco Jemez's pass-orientated philosophy (Rayo have the third highest possession per game average; 59.3).

This is why Larrivey has been in and out of Paco's starting XI: Larrivey has started 54.2 percent of La Liga games this season.


Bottom Line

It remains to be seen if Larrivey's recent hot form is a blip or a trend.

CAGLIARI, ITALY - JANUARY 08:   Joaquin Larrivey of Cagliari celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between Cagliari Calcio and Genoa CFC at Stadio Sant'Elia on January 8, 2012 in Cagliari, Italy.  (Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images)
Enrico Locci/Getty Images

Two years ago while playing for Cagliari, he scored the hat-trick against Napoli and then disappeared off the European radar by signing with Mexican Liga MX club Atlante.

Now back in one of Europe's elite leagues, Larrivey is demonstrating that he is La Liga-standard, however his playing style is more suited to the Premier League or the Championship.

If Michu can score 22 goals in his debut season for Swansea (18 in the Premier League), modest English clubs with a cross-centric modus operandi should consider signing Larrivey in the summer transfer window.



Statistics via WhoScored

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices