When Tim Vickery, expatriate South American soccer pundit extraordinaire, tips a young player for success it is usually worth paying attention.
Vickery knows his stuff.
So when he describes new Manchester City signing Marlos Moreno as “the standout revelation of South American football” it is a sign that the Colombia forward is a player of great potential.
Marlos Moreno for £4.75 million is a massive bargain for #MCFC Click To Tweet
Think Atletico Nacional have found something special in Marlos Moreno – most promising youngster I’ve seen in the continent this year
— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) December 20, 2015
The 19-year-old burst on to the scene with some marvellous displays as Atletico Nacional won the Colombian league in 2015.
But it was his performances in Atletico’s surprise Copa Libertadores triumph which did most to elevate his profile. His debut against Huaracan in February was particularly impressive.
“Moreno’s performance was little short of sensational,” said Vickery in his excellent World Soccer column. “He was playing in a position which obliged him to make choices, and he responded in fine style. A sinewy dribbler who can beat his man on either side, Moreno stood out for the number of times he played the Huracan defensive line out of the game with a clever pass – such as the one which set up the second goal for Orlando Berrio. Moreno drove Huracan to such distraction that Federico Mancinelli, their defensive leader, was sent off for bringing him down with a crude and frustrated challenge.”
He was soon being linked with a transfer to a European powerhouse and sure enough Pep Guardiola’s City concluded a deal for what looks like a relative bargain at £4.75 million.
Moreno will spend this season on-loan with Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga. City will send for him when he has matured and more easily satisfies the strict British work permit criteria.
He made his international debut in March and was in the Colombia squad at the Centenareo Copa America. He has effectively bypassed the Colombia junior sides and will surely gain many more caps as he continues to develop.
It is interesting to compare Moreno’s fee with the one City paid to secure another South Amercican starlet, Gabriel Jesus.
Jesus cost City £27 million from Palmeiras. He is seven months younger than Moreno but has a similar amount of experience to his new teammate. The big difference between them? Nationality? What price would Moreno fetch were he Brazilian?
Vickery has labelled this conundrum the ‘Brazilian premium’ – that Brazilians, by virtue of their nationality, attract an inflated price in comparison to similar players. Perhaps that explains why Jesus is five times more expensive?
Brazil, regardless of recent performance, is still the most famous nation in international football. Like an Italian sports car or a Swiss watch you pay a premium when shopping in certain markets.
Whether this reflects value is of course open to question.
Regardless of his fee and nationality Moreno looks the real deal and it will be interesting to track his progress in Spain.
The thought of him playing in a Guardiola side one day is intriguing.
As Vickery says; “this is much more than a case of another naturally gifted youngster; the striking thing about Moreno is his instinct to play collectively. He is already adept at hunting for space in between the lines of the opposing team, and his first thought on receiving possession is usually to pass and move.”
Moreno will grow and learn in Spain. And City and Guardiola will be watching and waiting.
This is one Vickery pick which does not look like being another Rafael Scheidt moment.
What is a Rafael Scheidt moment?
Dictionary definition: “A prediction which proves so erroneous that it haunts the enunciator in perpetuity.”
The World Football Phone In definition: “A prediction of greatness for a young player which proves to be so inaccurate that it is used to irritate the forecaster mercilessly and ceaselessly.”
The story of Scheidt
- Rafael Scheidt was capped three times by Brazil in 1999. A stylish defender he was signed by Celtic for a rumoured £4.8 million fee in January 2000 – with lavish praise from Tim Vickery upon his shoulders.
- Signed during the chaotic managerial reign of John Barnes, Scheidt struggled badly/ soon lived up to his name. Used to playing a deep defensive line in Brazil, with plenty of time on the ball, the faster more direct play in Scotland meant Scheidt’s performances were soon living up to his name. As he faltered Vickery’s praise began to look severely misplaced.
- After going back to Brazil on-loan and then failing to meet UK work permit criteria on his return Celtic paid up the remainder of his contract. New Celtic boss Martin O’Neil famously informed him; “I like footballers who are not like you. I like footballers who play well.”
- Scheidt played a total of ten games for Celtic and remains one of their worst ever signings.
- The Observer newspaper named Scheidt the second worst waste of money in football history in 2001.
- Tim Vickery, despite numerous accurate predictions, is reminded of his Rafael Scheidt prediction on a regular basis.
- His explanation of the fiasco shows him at his self-deprecating best:
“There are many ways of making yourself look foolish. One of the surest is to predict what is going to happen on the football field” – Tim Vickery.
Remembering that Rafael Scheidt moment – from Brazilian TV today;http://t.co/W6HD0Yt1xJ
— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) April 21, 2015