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Porto’s new star

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South Americans have always brought flair to the game of football. And this is why over the years, it has been a hotspot for the scouting network of European clubs who are looking for the next Ronaldo, Lionel Messi. However, not even the top clubs of world football have a scoring network that matches up with that of the trio of Portuguese clubs Benfica, Porto, and Sporting, who manage to unearth new talents year after year. And the latest player to join the trend is Boca Juniors’ midfield jewel Alan Varela who has signed for Porto.

He is regarded as one of the finest youth prospects in the Argentinian league, along with his teammate Valentin Barco, Independiente forward Santiago Hidalgo, and Velez Sarsfield’s midfield general Maximo Perrone.

And he has now secured a move across the Atlantic to become the next big star for La Albiceleste.

How good is Alan Varela?

Like so many of his peers, Alan Varela’s footballing journey started on the streets of Buenos Aires. His first stint came at the local club Barcelona Luján, a subsidiary club of FC Barcelona. However, he soon got the big opportunity to move to Boca Juniors, one of the most successful clubs in Argentina.

The real struggle for Varela would start here as he was at a club loaded with perhaps the nation’s best young talent. However, Varela took the challenge head-on, quickly establishing him as a player for the future.

And after seven years, he was finally called up to train with the senior squad by manager Gustavo Alfaro. This was also the season where the club offered him his first professional contract.

When the 2020 season began, Boca Juniors appointed Miguel Angel Russo as their new manager, who slowly integrated the youngster into the squad.

His debut came on December 20, 2020, in Copa de Liga against Independiente.

The following season he would play a more prominent role in the squad making 27 appearances for the team, and while his performance was good, Boca Juniors could only manage a fourth-place finish in the league.

Alan Varela stats 

The disappointment of losing out on the title in 2021 only fueled Boca Juniors to return a season later and win it. And this time, they had a fully ready Alan Varela to do so. The defensive midfielder played 47 games, scoring one goal and providing two assists to help his team win their 35th title.

This season put Varela as one of the rising stars of the Argentinian league. And this season has been no different as Varela has been the spine of the team shielding the teams’ defence.

According to data from Soccerment, Varela leads the team in counter-pressing actions and interceptions. He also fares brilliantly at winning tackles and moving the ball forward.

Stats from fbref show that Varela wins over two tackles per 90 minutes, among the top five percentile of midfielders. The youngster is equally adept at stopping dribblers tackling 1.58 times per 90 minutes (top six percentile).

However, his risk-taking ability also lands him in trouble quite often/ IN the 2023 season alone, Varela has received ten yellow cards, the most in the league. On top of that, he has also conceded 26 fouls, some of which near his goal.

Alan Varela Scout report

Alan Varela is a proper modern-day number six who is a perfect mix of defensive acumen and offensive qualities. Varela can be the no-nonsense defender on second and then play a brilliant long pass the very next. He is nothing but a product that has emerged due to the qualities that football demands in contemporary times.

And this is where lies his biggest challenge, distinguishing himself from many of his peers looking to become future stars. However, Varela has abundant experience, even at such a young age.

So any club signing him will have a player who not only plays well but also has the experience of winning silverware, and that too after an intense league campaign where there were several moments of pressure where he had to deliver his best for his team to succeed.

Varela does have his weakness, the most prominent being his recklessness while tackling. However, these can only be rectified by playing more often and with his talent, he will be able to overcome this in a year or two.

Alan Varela transfer news 

While several clubs were signing the talented midfielder, in the end, the race was won by Porto, who had been working on the deal for months. According to media reports, the transfer was completed for a fee of €11 million plus add-ons.

And for a player like Varela, Porto is the perfect environment for him to take his talents to the next level. The Portuguese club have also got one of the best young players from South America for a very modest fee.

And if he continues his development, Porto are bound to sell him for a very high fee, a trend he has repeated hundreds of times over the last two decades. If it happens, then it will only be a justification for the talent that Alan Varela possesses.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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