Rony Lopes
Rony Lopes – Source: @snhw_

Reports say that recently, Lazio have been in talks with Monaco over the possible signing of attacking wide-man Rony Lopes. With the departure of Felipe Anderson to West Ham, this rumour becomes all the more prominent as Lazio look to find a replacement for their previous star man.

Background:

Lopes really began his playing career at Benfica after spending 3 years previously at AD Poiares. He spent a total of 5 years at the Portuguese side, playing at youth level from age 10 to 15. Clearly, he impressed the scouting team at Manchester City as he was swiftly snapped up by the side in 2013. Much success was to follow, as the youngster was awarded Academy Player of The Year as he helped dispose of the likes of Bayern Munich with an impressive hat-trick in the UEFA Youth League.

Unfortunately, this was not convincing enough for the promising attacker to cement a place down in the first team of Manchester City – fair enough considering the attacking talent already on display. It was this reason that subsequently led to the bright prospect being shipped off to AS Monaco where he’d go on to impress in a young, exciting French side.

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Strengths:

Lopes has always been known for his short stature. It’s his height that gives him exceptional balance when carrying the ball, often warranting comparisons to the likes of David Silva back in his City playing days – quite the compliment for someone of his age.

Another strength to note, Lopes has a great turn of pace, often cutting inside at the last moment when the defender least expects it. One might say he has a similar play-style to that of Leroy Sane. With his razor-sharp turns and unpredictable movement, he can reak havoc on tired defences.

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Weaknesses:

Of course, there are negatives to his height, as Lopes doesn’t often win many aerial duels. You could argue it’s not too important for a wide-man to have the ability to win loose balls in the air but in the modern game it can be essential to enabling a team to push forward through using hold up play high up the field. Although, we’re sure most managers would probably look past this considering his palette of skills.

As well, Lopes does have weaker crossing ability than others in his position. This is evident in his rather small tally of 4 assists in 22 appearances. The question for the Lazio hierarchy is whether they are after a creator or not. If they are, Lopes is probably not your man.

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Where would he play:

For a start, Lopes has fantastic versatility, being able enough to play on both wings as well as being capable of playing in an attacking playmaker kind of role – similar to that of Bernardo Silva. Having got 5 goals, 2 assists from right midfield and 7 goals, 2 assists from left midfield, Lopes has proven he’s an extremely useful squad player to have.

It’s this wide range of positions that could enable him to comfortably replace Felipe Anderson on that far-side. The only slight concern may be the weak crossing ability, which, for a winger come wide-man is not ideal. Overall though, he’d make for a good replacement despite a couple slight implications.

Summary:

To summarise, Lopes would be a fantastic addition to the Lazio roster. He’d bring a more attacking impetus and in general goals. With his turn of pace and all-round unpredictable style of play, he’d be an interesting punt – especially for such a young, talented player.

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