Mercato: OM must also recruit a real number 9! – Mercato

We feared a sluggish transfer window due to lack of funds, but the last few weeks have shown that Frank McCourt had resolved to take out the checkbook for OM if necessary. Result, after the arrivals without transfer allowances of Gueye, Balerdi and Nagatomo, Pablo Longoria pulled out of his sleeve a Luis Henrique certainly young (18 years old), but for which the leaders of Botafogo are still asking for € 10 million. You might think that given the club’s financial situation, OM will stop there. But, something tells us that the owner of OM may not have completed his change of course and that it is not excluded to see him make a last effort before the transfer window closes on October 5. Obviously, we cannot imagine such an outpouring of generosity without one or two sales beforehand, but given the initial context, which seemed catastrophic, there is still cause for celebration. What to wonder too, because if Luis Henrique is indeed a striker, he is for the moment only a bet on the future and especially a winger, while André Villas-Boas wants a real number 9 for compensate for any slack from Dario Benedetto.

Several agents confirm that Pablo Longoria continues to explore the center-forward market, and not necessarily for loans or players at the end of their contract

The Portuguese coach is not wrong, because we have seen from the start of the season that Pipa’s downturn moments could come faster than expected and that he could also be suspended. As a result, OM still attacked two matches (Paris and Saint-Etienne) without a number nine, which gives them a bit of trouble with the motto “Droit au But” on the logo. So many reasons that should push OM to extend the arrival of “prospect” Luis Henrique with that of a center forward. This is also the case, since several agents confirm that Pablo Longoria continues to explore the center-forward market, and not necessarily for loans or players at the end of their contract. We say “explore”, because we should not imagine that the financial difficulties of the club have evaporated. OM will therefore have to sell before buying, and we know that the Olympian club always has more trouble in the first direction than in the second. However, the effort seems essential to us. Already because of the fragility of Benedetto, also because Luis Henrique offers no guarantee of immediate functioning, that he seems to be more of a winger than a scorer, and finally because OM do not play the middle of the table. The goal of once again reaching the podium and performing well in C1 is not unreachable, but imagining achieving it without a real additional number nine seems very uncertain.

Pipa Benedetto would see a serious competitor walking on his flower beds, and it might not be worse

It remains to be seen what is meant by real number nine. Are we talking about a replacement for Benedetto or a real competitor? In the first case, we can stay alert on cases already mentioned as Marcos Paul (19 years old, Fluminense) or Jose Macias (21 years old, Chivas). Two very young elements that have pleased the recruitment unit for a long time. But, with the Balerdi, Nagatomo and Henrique, we have seen that Longoria and Villas-Boas take pleasure in taking rumors against the grain. Suddenly, everything remains open in terms of profile, like the Rémois El-Bilal Touré (18 years), even if his leaders will not let go. In those cases, Pipa would see a young but serious competitor walking on his beds, and that might not be worse. Once again, the Villas-Boas workforce is growing, and it is not said that it will continue to be. And for all the reasons mentioned above, OM still has an interest in continuing its research.


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