Impulse buys. We’ve all made them. Sometimes you can’t resist what you consider to be a good offer, even if there’s very little logic behind the reasoning. Football clubs are no different.
Some signings raise eyebrows simply because it isn’t clear how or where the newly acquired player is going to fit in. It happened last summer with Barcelona when the LaLiga champions parted with €41million to sign Brazilian forward Malcom.
The Bordeaux man looked set to be heading to Roma. The Serie A side agreed terms with the Ligue 1 club and the player himself, with fans of the Giallorossi even waiting at the airport to greet their new signing.
But the Catalonia-based superclub gazumped their Champions League conquerors at the very last minute.
But then, of course, came the realisation that Malcom’s playing time would be limited at best. In his final two seasons in France, the former Corinthians star appeared in 94 per cent of the Ligue 1 matches. The only way he’d be seeing similar game time at the Camp Nou was if there was an injury crisis.
Fortunately for Barcelona, but unfortunately for the 22-year-old, that didn’t happen. Malcom made just six LaLiga starts, racking up 608 minutes in total.
He scored just once in the league, during the epic 4-4 draw with Villarreal, a far cry from the 12 he managed during his final season in France. In fact, in his two full seasons in Ligue 1, Malcom averaged nine goals and six assists. His output was impressive, it’s what alerted the masses to him as a player.
In terms of being a creative force, those numbers for Barcelona aren’t anything to be worried by. But what I will say is it’s a small sample size.
However, when compared to the numbers he posted during his final season with Les Girondins, you realise Malcom has lost some of what made him special since the move to Spain. His expected assists has remained the same but everything else is down.
He’s playing slightly fewer open-play key passes even though he’s surrounded by better players. It shows he isn’t as involved. He’s not as much as a key man as he was in Bordeaux and this explains why he’s averaging fewer dribbles on a per 90 basis and fewer shots.
When tasked with being the game-changer and the difference-maker, he can be. But when used as a squad player, there’s nothing remarkable about him. It’s why he needs a move away from the Camp Nou.
Everton and Spurs have recently been linked and both clubs would offer him an ideal environment to flourish. Manchester United do need a left-footed forward to add balance to their forward line, and he could strike quite an understanding with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Liverpool are another team looking to add attacking reinforcements to their squad this summer. The Reds have been linked with countless forwards, those in the spotlight after an eye-catching 2018/19 season, but Michael Edwards is one who operates in the shadows. On occasion, he’ll eye undervalued and underappreciated talent. Exactly what Malcom currently is.
He was once labelled as a potential superstar. His progress has stalled but the talent is still there. He just needs a home to hone his craft. The summer of 2018 was a big one for Malcom, the summer of 2019 looks set to be even more important. Get it wrong and he could be another lost wonderkid. Get it right and he could be an unstoppable force once again.