Lucas Ocampos: The Prince of the Principality

Yesterday Ligue 2 side AS Monaco shocked French football by completing the €16m move for 18-year old Argentine star Lucas Ocampos. Signed from River Plate he becomes the next high profile signing for Italian Claudio Ranieri and a huge move in the transfer market. If the pressure wasn’t on ASM to win Ligue 2 at a canter already they have certainly now raised the bar even higher.

Born in Quilmes, Buenos Aires the youngster is part of the Argentina U18 side and played 39 times for River Plate scoring seven goals. Once the deal was done Monaco’s Sporting Director Tor-Kristian Karlsen was delighted with the move and speaking to his excitement at this deal was there for everyone to see.

“We should not forget he is a young player, he just turned 18 last month. He can play Under 21 for another few years, so we have to put it in perspective, but the potential is huge. I think with the tradition we have here of developing young players I think he can be a really big player in the future for this club.”

To get the experts opinion on Ocampos we contacted one of our Argentine football colleagues Dan Colasimone from Argentina Football World and the excellent Hand of Pod and we asked for the inside scoop on Ocampos.

“Ocampos is a professed admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo and cites the Real Madrid star as a major influence on his footballing style. The similarities between the two are hard to ignore. The young Argentinian is physically imposing at 1.87m and 80kg. He is also a prodigious dribbler who enjoys taking on his marker. Most notable is his pace. Fast as a jackrabbit, Ocampos can burst past defenders on the left wing before cutting inside or laying passes in to teammates. He favours his right side when dribbling, though like any Argentinian attacking player worth his salt he possesses a powerful, accurate shot with either foot.”

So where did this 18-year old come from and how did he do for River Plate?

“He shone at the recent U17 World Championships in February of this year, playing as a forward. Upon his return to River, Ocampos was integrated into the first team for pre-season training by new manager Matias Almeyda.

The recently-retired Almeyda was highly impressed with what he saw and selected the starlet for River’s first match of the season against Chacarita, where he performed superbly playing as a left-sided attacking midfielder. Ocampos’ place in the first team is now secure as he has been one of River’s standout players during the club’s first ever Nacional B campaign. He scored with a towering header in his second match and has added two more goals and a handful of assists since. It was only a matter of time before the big European clubs took notice.”

Does Ocampos have the ability to make this move a success, or could the jump to Europe be too much, too soon?

“Nobody can claim to have seen enough of Ocampos to confidently assert he will flourish in Europe, but the signs are positive. The main point of uncertainty whenever an Argentinian talent moves to the Old Continent is how the player will cope with the amplified physicality and pace of European football. Ocampos should not have any problems in those areas – as has been mentioned he excels in those facets of the game.

There are slight question marks over his decision-making abilities at this early stage of his career, which is understandable for one so young who only knows how to play at one speed, Fast Forward. Like an early-version Cristiano, Ocampos will occasionally attempt a dazzling stepover when a simple sideways pass would be more effective. He is not an overly selfish player, however, and one would assume he will learn better how to apply his talents as he gains precious experience, whether it is in Argentinian or European football.”

This is a very exciting move for not just Monaco but French football in general, poaching one of South America’s brightest talents and convincing him to move to the second division is an amazing signing for AS Monaco.

With all the talent that Claudio Ranieri has at his disposal now, it would be a disaster if Ligue 1 wasn’t welcoming the principality back into the top flight this time next season.


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