Bought by Paris Saint-Germain for €30million back in January, it was felt at the time he was joining a club with too many players in the same position and it turned out to be correct.
However, his time in Spain has shown exactly why the Parisians paid so much for the young winger and now the former Manchester United transfer target is heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in the summer according to the Daily Mail.To date, the 21-year-old has made just six league appearances, starting once, picking up an assist in the 5-0 win over Bastia.
Who is Goncalo Guedes?
After coming through the youth system at Benfica, Guedes would make his league debut in 2015, coming off the bench in a 3-0 win over Penafiel. He only managed 37 minutes that term, but it was a gradual introduction which put him in good stead for the next campaign.
He is capable of playing on either wing or centrally as a No.10 or striker. Guedes was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the Primeira Liga and in 39 appearances in the top flight he added five goals and nine assists before PSG came calling.
“I’m a fast player; I like hitting quickly on the counter, I like one-on-ones. I’m drawn towards goal and I love scoring,” Guedes revealed to press in his first interview as a PSG player. “I like to try to bring my teammates into play and I enjoy hitting a good pass or providing an assist.”
Capped at every youth level for Portugal from Under-15 to Under-21. He made his senior debut in 2015 against Russia and has five caps. Playing mostly for the youth sides, his current form earned him a recall for the qualifier against Andorra and he was rewarded with an appearance off the bench.
This continued upsurge in form could be enough to hand him a place on the pitch when Portugal take on Spain in Russia next summer.
What are Guedes’ strengths?
What catches the eye instantly is his wide-range of skills, making him a threat anywhere in the final third.
He can dribble past defenders with ease, using a combination of skill and speed. His acceleration is rapid, making him deadly on the counter-attack. Guedes also showed for PSG his close-control and precision in tight space.
Although he can finish, scoring a few memorable goals for Valencia this season, what stands out is his eagerness to contribute the final pass, even if he is in a goal-scoring opportunity.
Struggling for minutes at PSG, he was released through on goal against Bastia. It’s a clear one-on-one, but the youngster decides the best option is to not score his first goal for the French side, but to slip the ball squad to Edinson Cavani and guarantee success.
What are Guedes’ weaknesses?
While at Benfica, the biggest disappoint around his game was his ability to finish.
At one moment he would look assured, finding the corners, but then he would display an erractic side, missing chances where you would expect him to score.
This will improve with time and exposure and you can already see it in his time with Valencia.
In Portugal he managed 35 shots, with just 10 on target, but in Spain his efficiency has increased to 36.8 per cent from 28.5 per cent. His conversation rate is up to, scoring three times from 19 shots, compared to twice in 35 in the Portuguese league.
As long as he is providing more assists than looking to score, it’s not an area to worry about.
At Benfica, Guedes was attempted 2.1 dribbles per 90 minutes, that has increased to 3.9 in La Liga, he now completes more attempts than he was trying, utilising his direct style to great effect.
Why Arsenal should be interested in Guedes
He already has Alexandre Lacazette in place, so you need to add creative players around him. Similar to someone like Riyad Mahrez, Guedes can be seen as an old-fashioned winger, keen to commit defenders, opening up space in the final third.
The Portugal international has the creative side to replace Özil, but is faster and better at beating his man than the German.
It is also becoming part of his game to fire off some shots from distance and a couple are starting to find the back of the net. Something Arsenal fans have loved about Sánchez.
Regardless of how well he has done at Valencia, there still isn’t a place for Guedes at the Parc des Princes, leaving an opportunity for someone to pick up a very talented young forward.