After consecutive barren winters, Liverpool fans can be excused for looking forward and speculating about the summer transfer window which could prove to be crucial if Liverpool manage to end up in Champions League next season, or even more so if they don’t. Instead of the usual, Liverpool have been linked with a name that fans in the Northern Hemisphere might not have heard about. According to numerous reports, Fox Sports Latin America Journalist Christian Martin’s amongst the chief, Liverpool are in the race along with rivals Manchester United to sign Paraguayan sensation Sergio Diaz. For the sake of familiarizing with him before rumours about him get too regular, here’s a basic scouting profile and an opinion on whether he will be a good buy for The Reds.
Sergio “Chico” Ismal Diaz Velazquez is a 16 year old attacker who plays for Cerro Porteño as an attacking midfielder or forward. Diaz was born on 6th December 1998 at Itaugua. Diaz joined Cerro Porteño at the age of 10 from Club Tacuary. The prodigy seemed too much for the U15s, scoring 30 goals for them, before quickly getting added to the reserve team. Soon, Diaz garnered a lot of attention and became referred to as the Sergio Aguero of Cerra Porteño, mainly due to similar stature and playing style. Diaz dons the kit number 22 for Cerra Porteno. The youngster rocketed to fame during the 2015 South American U20 Championship after numerous scouts of top clubs were spotted keeping tabs on him. Diaz prefers his right foot although he’s highly ambidextrous. He measures 172 cms in height, and weighs 66 kgs.
Diaz’s diminutive stature gives him a low centre of gravity, enabling him to make sharp turns, accelerate quickly and latch sharp shots into the corner of the goal. This has made him a tough opposition for any defender on his day. In the following GIF he out-dribbles two players before cutting outside, wrong-footing another two and then slot it into the corner.
Diaz is very ambidextrous, able to finish with both his feet very well. In the next GIF, Diaz pummels to ball into the top corner with a strong right foot.
In this next GIF clever positioning ability; in the following GIF, the Paraguayan spots space between the defenders, loses his marker and runs on to a fine pass from Oscar Romero before burying it expertly with his “weaker” left foot.
He also makes his presence known by constantly putting pressure on the defenders. In this next GIF, he spots an untimely back-pass, pressurizes the opposition defender and does very well to dispossess him before calmly putting it the keeper’s reach.
Thus, we can conclude that the young forward can develop into a lethal player. Diaz started in 19 of the 20 appearances he made in 2014 season, scoring 8 goals, while starting in all three of the appearances he made in the 2015 season, scoring one; a strike rate of more than a goal every three games while aged just 16.
One cannot say that Diaz has dominant aerial prowess; his low height limits his leap and therefore his heading capacity. He has only scored one goal from a header in all competitions. However, there’s still scope for other set piece threat because of his potential awareness. Other than that, problems associated with him are only temporary. Like most teenage footballers (unless you’re talking about Lionel Messi or someone of that calibre), Sergio Diaz is at least fairly inconsistent. The player has extremely low defensive capability, but that should not matter much as his deepest position is an attacking midfielder. Because of his young age, Diaz does not play full 90 minutes despite starting most of them; Diaz completed full 90 minutes only twice throughout 2014, and once in 2015. This is to reduce fatigue and keep him as fit as possible.
Verdict : Keep tabs
Diaz is only 16, and he could be just another Keirrison if Liverpool swoop him up too early; Keirrison was highly promising, but because of Barcelona’s high quality already and some fairly regular loan performances, Keirrison never managed to play a single minute of meaningful football with the Blaugrana kit on. Diaz could face a similar problem, especially with equally highly rated players like Harry Wilson, Samed Yesil, Sheyi Ojo and Sergi Canos already in the academy; plus players like Sterling and Markovic could also stay around for a while.
Yet considering all of this, Diaz’s potential still calls for the Merseyside club to keep tabs on him. Let him develop and reassess in a couple or more seasons and then check his status. A first option deal will be great when the forward reaches 18.