Scouting Report: Is Max Gradel Liverpool's Adam Lallana Alternative?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 20, 2014

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 05:  Max-Alain Gradel #15 of Ivory Coast celebrates after he scores his teams second goal during the International Friendly match between Belgium and Ivory Coast at The King Baudouin Stadium on March 5, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Could Saint-Etienne's Ivory Coast international Max Gradel—a 26-year-old, 5'9", 152-pound winger—be Liverpool's transfer alternative to signing Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana?

To address that hypothetical, this article grades Gradel's performance against Colombia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and provides a scouting report on his season for Saint-Etienne.

 

Gradel vs. Colombia—Grade: F

Gradel started on the right wing with support from Ivory Coast right-back Serge Aurier. 

Colombia left-back Pablo Armero was generally not tested by Gradel, who gradually shifted centrally to act as a deep-lying forward. 

FIFA.com

Gradel made energetic runs but lacked the end product the Ivory Coast needed to beat Colombia. 

FIFA.com

Gradel misplaced four of five crosses, per Squawka.com, and only made 15 passes in 68 minutes.

Squawka.com

FIFA.com

 

Gradel Saint-Etienne Positives

Ligue1.com

Gradel interchanges from the right to left wing.

He can operate as an inverted right-footed winger on the left flank, as shown here where he cuts in and strikes the ball past Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard.

Ligue1.com

In addition, Gradel can play as a conventional winger on the right flank.

Speeding down the right wing against Ajaccio, he plays in Saint-Etienne centre-forward Mevlut Erding.

Ligue1.com

When given space by Ajaccio central midfielder Mehdi Mostefa, Gradel delivers an accurate cross to Saint-Etienne centre-back Loic Perrin.

Ligue1.com

Creating separation from Evian Thonon Gaillard left-back Youssouf Sabaly, Gradel clips the ball to Saint-Etienne central attacking midfielder Benjamin Corgnet. 

Ligue1.com

Gradel is capable of producing game-winning moments.

This is why he is an ideal super-sub.

He spent 50 percent of his playing time last season in that role and scored 60 percent of his league goals off the bench.

Squawka.com

 

Gradel Saint-Etienne Negatives

Gradel is 26 years old, and his CV (Leicester CityBournemouth, Leeds United and Saint-Etienne) is not impressive. 

In his three seasons at Saint-Etienne, he was not consistent enough to be a week in, week out starter.

League Only2013-142012-132011-12
Games Played182329
Games Started91619
Subbed On9710
Goals536
Assists523

All of Gradel's assists came in the last four games of the season, so prior to his purple patch, he was on a 14-game run without creating a goal. 

Gradel's shooting at times is wayward. 

Squawka.com

These factors would explain why Gradel has never played for a major European club. 

 

Bottom Line

Instagram.com/maxigradel

Gradel will make a seamless adjustment having played professional football for English clubs from 2006-2011.

"Max is fond of his time in England and would be open to playing in the Premier League if the chance arose," Gradel's England-based agent, Tra Desmond, said, as reported by James Pearson at Sky Sports. "He impressed during his time at Leeds and the style of play in the country suits his game."

League OnlyAdam LallanaMax Gradel
Starting %97.450
Goals95
Shots Per Goal7.86.0
Assists65
Key Passes Per Game1.91.4

Gradel only played 18 times in an injury-affected season. Though, he still scored or created a goal in 55.6 percent of his games, which is significantly higher than Lallana (39.4; combined 15 goals in 38 games). 

If Liverpool fail to sign LallanaGradel should be on the long list of potential summer transfer window alternatives. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com