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Scouting Report: Is Victor Ibarbo Liverpool's Adam Lallana Alternative?

GENOA, ITALY - APRIL 19:  Victor Ibarbo of Cagliari celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and Cagliari Calcio at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on April 19, 2014 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 19, 2014

Could Cagliari's Colombian international Victor Ibarbo—a 24-year-old, 6'2", 172-pound forward—be Liverpool's transfer alternative to signing Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana?

To address that hypothetical, this article grades Ibarbo's performance against the Ivory Coast at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and provides a scouting report on his season for Cagliari.

 

Grading Ibarbo vs. Ivory Coast: F

Ibarbo was non-existent in Colombia's 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast. 

FIFA.com

Situated on the left wing, he did not take advantage of Ivory Coast right-back Serge Aurier playing himself as a right-forward. 

FIFA.com

Ibarbo was dispossessed twice in possession and failed to create a shot or to shoot on goal. 

Missing in action is how you would describe Ibarbo. He attempted and completed less passes than Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.

FIFA.com

Ibarbo was replaced by Juan Quintero, who scored what turned out to be the winning goal. 

FIFA.com

 

Ibarbo Cagliari Positives

The combination of high quality athleticism and sleek technical ability is why Ibarbo has been on the radar of major European clubs.

"Napoli? It is an honour to know I am thought of by such a prestigious club," Ibarbo said, per Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia). "If a team that is so important is following me, and if a great coach like Rafa Benitez is thinking of me, then I can only be happy."

What Ibarbo offers is searing pace, like embarking on a lengthy run against Genoa.

LegaSerieA.it/CagliariCalcio.net

Ibarbo's change of pace causes Juventus centre-back Martin Caceres to trip over himself. 

LegaSerieA.it/CagliariCalcio.net

Sassuolo centre-back Luca Antei concedes a penalty due to Ibarbo's quick-feet. 

LegaSerieA.it/CagliariCalcio.net

Pace aside, Ibarbo has flashed moments of class. 

With the ball dropping high from the sky, Ibarbo impeccably volleys it past Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin

LegaSerieA.it/CagliariCalcio.net

Ibarbo holds off Udinese centre-back Naldo, swivels and finishes past Udinese goalkeeper Simone Scuffet. 

LegaSerieA.it/CagliariCalcio.net

 

Ibarbo Cagliari Negatives 

League OnlyGamesGoalsShotsShots Per Goal
2013-14304358.8
2012-13346366.0
2011-123833311.0

In three successive Serie A seasons, Ibarbo has failed to score 10 league goals or more. 

His shots per goal output in the 2011-12 and 2013-14 season were inefficient.

While he improved in 2012-13, his dip in attacking productivity the next season is a red flag. 

Liverpool management face an uphill task if they take a chance on Ibarbo, who failed to convert 86.2 percent of scoring opportunities, per Squawka.com.

Squawka.com

 

Bottom Line

Lallana scored and created a combined 15 league goals, nine more than Ibarbo

Ibarbo is a rough diamond with a tremendous upside, and he would be a cheap buy.

He lacks the consistency Lallana would bring, as evidenced with Ibarbo's lacklustre performance against Ivory Coast.

Yes, Ibarbo is exciting to watch and can take the ball from his own defensive half and do a George Weah.

But Ibarbo's finishing is as poor as compatriot Teofilo Gutierrez.

If Ibarbo does not improve his efficiency in front of goal, he will never fulfill his extraordinary talent. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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