Over the weekend it was announced that Chelsea had agreed a pre-contract with Lucas Piazon, who will be joining the Stamford Bridge outfit from Sao Paolo in January 2012. The transfer fee is reputed to be £8m, but Chelsea also had to offer him a £1m signing on fee to snatch him from under the nose of Juventus.
That is an awful lot of money to spend on a player yet to make his first team debut. However, playing in the hole behind the strikers, his graceful style and eye for goal have earned him comparisons to the great Kaka. So who exactly is Lucas Piazon?
The Kaka comparisons do not end on the field. Piazon, who bears a striking physical and even facial resemblance to Kaka, was also brought up in a wealthy family in the same region of Sao Paolo. He also possesses the innate ability to read the game and lead his team, attributes which helped Kaka to such swift success in Italy.
However, some people believe that Piazon could be even better than Kaka. Like all “new” comparisons, the Kaka comparison is lazy, as Piazon is capable of so much more. Unlike some of the other prospects coming through, such as Neymar, Piazon is also physically imposing, standing at 180cm, and is comfortable playing anywhere from the center of midfield forward.
In the 2009 South American Under 15 championships, Piazon came to the attention of anybody watching by bagging 10 goals as Brazil managed only second in the tournament. He is currently representing Brazil in the U-17 championships, where he has scored twice in three games so far, including an effort which has attracted much media attention for breaking a hole in the net.
Lucas is now just 17, which explains why he is to remain to remain in Brazil for the time being. Brazilians under the age of 18 are not allowed to transfer abroad, which also explains why Manchester United had to wait so long for Fabio and Rafael. He has been something of a revelation on the South American youth circuit over the last two years, during which he has been almost constantly watched by Chelsea scouts.
However, they almost lost out, as in January Juventus believed that they were only awaiting official confirmation of the transfer. The confirmation never came, and Chelsea were not about to let their man slip through the net.
It is likely that, with Drogba on the way down, Anelka sure to follow soon and Kalou short of quality, Chelsea could see Torres and Piazon as their long-term front pairing. It would certainly be exciting, but as with all South American prospects, we won’t know just how exciting until he is here and settled.