While Ligue 1 in recent years might have become a significant league riding on the back of Paris Saint Germain’s incredible rise, it has always been a league that has produced several young talents. Before the rise of PSG, the French league was well known for producing world-class talents, especially attackers. Olivier Giroud, Karim Benzema, and Franck Ribery are perfect examples of the trend. It is why clubs start to swoon over as soon as a talented player emerges, which explains the reason behind the hype surrounding Lyon’s electric winger Bradley Barcola.
A product of Lyon’s famed youth academy, Barcola, in two seasons, has become an integral part of Les Gones’ first team. Barcola’s rise has also come when the club is desperately seeking new stars after finishing eighth last season and being seventh in this year’s table.
With his performances this year, Barcola has made it clear that he deserves more minutes on the pitch, something the club is bound to give him, especially from the following season.
Bradley Barcola stats
Bradley Barcola’s name has been known for years by fans of Lyon and anyone who has a great interest in French youth football. Barcola joined the Lyon Academy in 2010 and has been there ever since. However, he only started to make his mark in the 2019-20 season when he was promoted to Lyon’s under-19 team and given a run of games in the UEFA Youth League, where he would bag himself a couple of assists.
This earned him a promotion to the reserve side in the 2020-21 season, where he scored two goals in four games. However, such a short sample of games was more than enough proof for newly appointed first-team head coach Peter Bosz who gave the player his senior-team debut on November 4, 2021, in Europa League against Sparta Prague.
His first season saw him score three goals and provide seven assists in 27 games. However, it is the current season where Barcola has shown glimpses that he could become a future star. While he has only scored five goals and three assists in 1008 minutes, it is his efficiency per 90 minutes where he outshines even some of the best players in the league.
A look at his stats from Soccerment proves precisely that. Bradley ranks tenth in terms of successful crosses, fifth in successful dribbles, and second in successful cutbacks. These stats represent how brilliant he is with the ball at his feet.
However, Barcola doesn’t stop there, as he is equally good with his passing as well. Barcola ranks 11th in Expected Threat (xT) from passes and eighth in Expected Assists (xA) from open play.
In addition, Barcola is an adept follower of defending from the front. Stats from fbref show that Barcola wins 1.22 tackles, among the top eight percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers. The trend continues with dribblers challenged (top two percentile), blocks (top one percentile), passes blocked (top one percentile), interceptions (top seven percentile), and aerials won (top nine percentile).
Barcola is also blessed with immense pace and physicality, which he uses significantly. In fact, the youngster gets dispossessed once in two games which is among the top one percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers.
Bradley Barcola’s strengths and weaknesses
Bradley Barcola’s greatest strength is that his stat takes a massive jump the more minutes he gets. In fact, in his last five matches, Barcola has scored three goals and provided two assists. And his other stats have also taken a massive jump in the previous ten games, which shows that he is slowly getting accustomed to the demands of Ligue 1.
Barcola also uses his tall frame to good effect, using it to cover a lot of ground quickly with the ball during counter-attacks. Also, since he rarely gets dispossessed, the only alternative for the opposition most of the time is to foul him, which helps Lyon win set pieces in dangerous areas.
The player also possesses a brilliant vision, especially in the opposition’s box. Four of the five goals he has scored in the league so far have had an Expected Goals (xG) rating of 0.36 or above. Barcola times his runs to such perfection that he usually gets the ball near the goal with no player around to mark him, thus allowing him to score easily.
Another skill that makes Barcola special is his ability to deliver when the team needed it the most. Out of the last seven games, Barcola has played the entirety of it six times. And it is here that most of his goals and assists have come.
Barcola also is highly adaptable and can change from being a supreme dribbler to a brilliant passer in just a second. So naturally, this puts pressure on the opposition, who know that they have to block the player and the passing lanes simultaneously to stop him.
However, one of the major weaknesses that Barcola has is his high dependency on his right foot to score and create goals. This usually makes him less effective when the opposition forces him to go near the line, where he usually tries to attempt a cutback rather than launching the ball into the box with his left foot.
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Bradley Barcola transfer news
While he is still yet to fully blossom, Bradley Barcola has already started attracting interest from clubs all across Europe. Among them, Liverpool have expressed the most interest. The Reds are experiencing an underwhelming season and will be looking to recruit heavily in the summer. One of these areas will be the right wing, where the club would want a deputy and future successor for Mohamed Salad.
Barcola ticks most boxes of a modern-day winger who is brilliant in attack and possesses the awareness to track back and help his team out defensively.
However, it would be better if he could stay at Lyon for an additional season and become an integral part of the playing 11, which will give him the confidence to take his game a level above and get closer to his dream of playing for a top club soon.