WHO Poll
Q: 2022/23 You are the Chairman what do you do with Moyes?
a. Stick with him obviously, he's delivered two good seasons back to back and will see us out of this dip in form
b. If we're still lingering around the bottom three by the start of the WC then that's the time to get rid
c. What are we waiting for 2 wins in the last 20 PL games is reason enough to sack him, go now
d. I've just got my new Orange & White 3rd Kit with Moyesinho on the back, I can't wait to wear it down to the supermarket, they call me Mr West Ham around here

Alan 1:32 Thu Aug 25
Lucas Paqueta SIGNED

The Athletic

Lucas Paqueta: Lost in Milan, reborn at Lyon – and now West Ham’s statement signing

By James Horncastle

From the mountains overlooking Rio de Janeiro you can, on a clear day, see a small island across the Guanabara Bay.

It was here, in 1997, that the man set to become West Ham’s club-record signing, Lucas Tolentino Coelho da Lima, was born, a player better known by the name of his birthplace, the once-glamorous Ilha de Paqueta.

The journey he embarked on to become a professional footballer began with his grandfather Mirao ushering him and his older brother onto a ferry to cross the water between their home and Rio de Janeiro, where Lucas Paqueta attended Flamengo’s Gavea academy and Matheus trained at Ninho, another of the club’s facilities.

Paqueta has a tattoo on his forearm of a star and the letter “M” in recognition of the contribution his late grandfather made in making him who he is today; an established Brazil international upon whom clubs in Italy, France and England have lavished more than €100million (£84.8m; $100m) in transfer fees before his 25th birthday.

The “Brazil premium” is still very much a thing, although just imagine what Paqueta would go for had he been born and raised on Canvey Island in Essex and called Luke Canvey. Presumably, he’d make Jack Grealish look cheap. But we digress.

At Gavea, the boy off the boat impressed. Growing up on an island with no cars, Paqueta played uninterrupted for hours in the streets and on the beach. He had a rare touch and feel for the game.

One of his youth coaches Ze Ricardo marvelled at Paqueta’s universal skill set. He was like every midfielder rolled into one. “He could develop into a No 5, 6, 7, 8, a No 10,” Ze Ricardo told France Football. “He was very intelligent. He knew how to position himself and was fearless.”

But at 15, Paqueta was under-sized for his age. The growth spurt his peers experienced didn’t arrive and all of a sudden the star of Flamengo’s youth sector couldn’t get into the team anymore.

Paqueta didn’t take it very well. He cried and was irritable. Maybe this was it? All those nights catching the last ferry, the 21-mile roundtrip with Mirao. All for what? To go back to being a tour guide on the island, a job Paqueta did for some extra pocket money in his spare time?

His mother wouldn’t stand for it. She went down to the academy and kicked up a fuss.

Flamengo came round to her point of view and drew up a bespoke plan for Paqueta. Targeted nutrition, a bit of power training and fitness work had the desired effect and he shot up, gaining about a foot in height. It was all worth it. Paqueta ran the show as Flamengo’s under-17s won the Copinha and when the club’s first-team coach Muricy Ramalho asked the academy chiefs if they had anyone for him, one teenager stood out.

Not long after making his debut in the Rio state championship, Paqueta scored his first goal in the professional game. It was no ordinary goal either.

Tricks in tight spaces and his knack for making a mark on big occasions — Paqueta scored in the 2017 Copa do Brasil and Copa Sudamericana finals — then quickly made him the darling of Flamengo fans.

Among them was one of their former players, Leonardo, who was back at AC Milan as the club’s sporting director. After hanging up his boots, he had cut his teeth in recruitment working under former chief executive Adriano Galliani.

As the only Brazilian in Milan’s old offices on Via Turati, the signings of Thiago Silva and Alexandre Pato were widely credited to him. One of Leonardo’s first moves upon returning to the club after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and trying his hand at coaching again with Antalyaspor was to attempt to sign the next big thing out of Brazil.

A deal worth €35million was struck with Flamengo in the autumn of 2018 and Paqueta joined the following January. There were echoes of Pato’s arrival a little over a decade earlier and the nostalgia hit hard. Leonardo had accompanied Kaka to Paris to collect his Ballon d’Or in 2007 and, as he left, famously remarked he’d be back with Pato. Injuries ultimately stopped him from fulfilling his potential but the talent was obvious.

Memories of the early Pato, along with the illustrious association between Brazil and the last great Milan sides, loaded tremendous expectation on Paqueta’s shoulders. The rainbow flick he performed on his Serie A debut against Genoa only added to it. Had Leonardo only gone and found the new Kaka?

Fans at San Siro certainly hoped so. After all, this wasn’t 2003, when Kaka joined a Champions League-winning team and people wondered whether this preppy-looking kid from Sao Paulo would get a game amid competition from Manuel Rui Costa and Rivaldo. In 2019, Milan needed a saviour.

The club hadn’t been in the Champions League for five years and would have gone to the wall had Elliott Management not repossessed it from Li Yonghong. The hope projected on Paqueta was that he might almost single-handedly make Milan elite again.

Paqueta’s adaptation wasn’t easy. Whereas in the past there would have been a group of players like Dida, Serginho, Cafu, Thiago Silva, Pato and Kaka to help him settle in, by the time Paqueta arrived at Milanello there were no Brazilians left at the club. The second language at Milan these days is French, not Portuguese, and when Leonardo left six months after signing Paqueta, his protege felt isolated.

Paqueta was only there a year, but the club went through three coaches. When he joined midway through the season, Rino Gattuso had already settled on his best team and couldn’t find a spot for him. Marco Giampaolo told Paqueta to be “less Brazilian and more concrete, less showy”. By the time Stefano Pioli got the job, the direction of travel was hard to reverse and the midfield player who benefited most from his appointment turned out to be Hakan Calhanoglu. Paqueta, in Pioli’s mind, needed to be “more incisive”.

Internally, Milan were of the opinion they had overpaid Flamengo for what Paqueta was at the time. The €21million Lyon were prepared to pay for him in the late summer of 2020 was therefore considered something of a miracle and the 15 per cent sell-on Milan cleverly negotiated means they will get their money back and have a nice windfall ahead of the final week of the transfer window.

There are no regrets, even though Lyon will make close to three times what Paqueta cost them. He has flourished in Ligue 1.

“I put myself under a lot of pressure in Milan,” Paqueta reflected in L’Equipe. “Too much even. When I moved to France I told myself I didn’t have to put myself through that again. I just had to do my best.

“Sometimes there isn’t a reason for failure. My time at Milan wasn’t extraordinary by any means, I probably achieved less than expected, but it served me well and made me a better player; a different, stronger player who rediscovered the essence of what he was at Flamengo. The pressure is still there but it doesn’t come from myself anymore.”

In Lyon, Paqueta found another big club, just not one on the same scale as Milan. The environment was less demanding than San Siro and the league less tactically strait-jacketed than Serie A.

Behind the transfer was another legend of the Brazilian game, the free-kick maestro Juninho Pernambucano, who had been enticed back to Lyon as the club’s sporting director to build a team mixing the best products of Europe’s finest academy with the technical refinement of his home nation, namely Paqueta, Bruno Guimaraes and Thiago Mendes. The team that reached the semi-finals of the 2020 Champions League under Rudi Garcia, upsetting Juventus and Manchester City along the way, evolved from an aggressive, transition-based 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 which sought control through a neat possession game made possible thanks to the quintet of Brazilians, Houssem Aouar and Maxence Caqueret.

It promised a lot and a 1-0 win away to Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG before Christmas showcased the elegant press-resistant side to Paqueta’s game as he helped Lyon relieve the pressure around their penalty area and get up the pitch. Paqueta offered glimpses of a complete midfielder, whose ability to disrupt opponents as they progressed towards Lyon’s goal married the aesthetic with the aggressive.

On the ball, as his smarterscout profile below shows, he often kept his passing short and sharp, with neat interchange (link-up play volume 86 out of 99) rather than longer, searching balls upfield (progressive passing 27 out of 99). Those actions seemingly kept possession at an above-average rate compared with other central attacking midfielders (ball retention ability 59 out of 99).

Off the ball, Paqueta’s ability to disrupt opponents with his high volume of defensive actions such as tackles and blocks (disrupting opposition moves 98 out of 99) was also highly effective in preventing opponents from progressing towards Lyon’s goal (defending impact 73 out of 99).

Halfway through his first campaign in Ligue 1, L’Equipe named him in their team of the season so far. Once the polemic subsided about Tite prematurely handing Lucas Paqueta the Brazil No 10 shirt for a friendly against Argentina in 2019 — a decision Rivaldo took as a lack of respect for Rivelino, Zico and Ronaldinho — he established himself as a regular. His versatility means he will probably start at the World Cup.

“He has the talent to be one of the top players,” Emerson Palmieri told The Athletic earlier this summer. The Euro 2020 winner spent last season on loan at Lyon and will be reunited with Paqueta after joining West Ham from Chelsea. “He’s still young and I believe we have to have patience with him because sometimes youngsters have ups and downs.”

The oscillating performances Palmieri touches upon refers to the Lyonnais perception of Paqueta as an absolute joy to watch on his day. But he lacks consistency. Garcia felt he needed to show more killer instinct in his passing rather than playing simple, short and sideways.

The team also went backwards in Paqueta’s time, declining from Champions League semi-finalists to no Champions League football at all in back-to-back years. Last season under Peter Bosz was the worst the club has experienced in a quarter of a century. Either the team underperformed or wasn’t as good as people thought. Guimaraes was sold to Newcastle in January to offset some of the lost earnings from missing out on the Champions League and Lyon have gone back to players they can rely on like Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso. More substance, less style.

Paqueta was ready for a new challenge but the lacklustre showings he put in over the second half of the last campaign also made Lyon open to moving on. Romain Faivre can replace him between the lines and Jeff Reine Adelaide’s return from injury covers Lyon in midfield.

A fee of up to €60million from West Ham is frankly too good to turn down and would make Paqueta the club’s most lucrative sale after Tanguy Ndombele. West Ham fans will be hoping they get more bang for their buck than Tottenham did for their record signing who returned to Lyon on loan last season and is now at Napoli.

“His quality is there for all to see,” Palmieri said of Paqueta. “He’s a dedicated guy, someone who is obsessed with winning games and competing for titles. He has everything he needs to develop further. I think he has a brilliant future ahead of him.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

ironsofcanada 6:07 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Sorry second in passing percentage behind Rice and Kehrer.

ironsofcanada 6:01 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
For me right now the question is whether we use him where he has scored goals for his club and for Brazil - (I just watched a couple key goals the quarter finals and semi-finals of last year's Copa America - getting the ball from Neymar probably helps.)

Or do we play him further back and maybe put someone like Benrahma further ahead just so we keep the ball in midfield. He has the second highest pass completion rate on squad even playing in a more advanced position where there is in theory more traffic. So he certainly could do a job in the passing game further back and he is not completely adverse contact. Probably would mean asking Rice to sit.

⚒️ 5:54 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED

On The Ball 5:07 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Excluding the season where Anderson couldn't get a game for Porto, of course.

His stats for Lazio (only half the tale, of course), are very similar to his with us.

Side of Ham 5:06 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
That pattern seems to be (considering they are all forward thinking players) we worry too much about what the opposition are going to do rather than make the opposition worry about us......

Hammer and Pickle 5:00 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Yes, a very bad pattern that cannot go unnoticed at that.

wansteadman 4:34 Thu Sep 29
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Anderson was decent to start with but turned to shit, and now is doing ok now he’s left us.
Haller was good before we got him. Shit when we had him and very good when he left us.
Vlasic was voted the best player in Russia, and suprisingly did nothing for us playing out of position in the odd game he was played.
And is now going very well in his natural position in Italy.
There seems to be a pattern

Texas Iron 9:10 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
About time for a performance…assist…goal from expensive Brazilian…

Even Anderson was better when he started off…

Sir Alf 6:09 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
factory seconds 4:13 Tue Sep 20

Hmmm... a very good point / observation. Something that is ... well... puzzling to say the least. If Moyes had not said otherwise, I would believe someone is buying the players for him. But supposedly he controls all incomings and outgoings.

We certainly like buying CBs and No 10s that's for sure.

Side of Ham 2:58 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
How you get a six figure salary is shocking Come On Benrahma....just look at your low intellect attempt at baiting.......

Come On You Irons 1:22 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Can't even score against fucking Tunisia. The fella is SHIT.

ironsofcanada 5:44 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Manuel 5:36 Wed Sep 28

It's 8:30, mate. Is that your bedtime?

Sober as a judge, but have some fun winding up someone who strangely wonders why I would care if West Ham scores.

Manuel 5:36 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Someone's had a few drinks! Don't tell me how I support West Ham, cunt. You're posting like a girl, go to bed!

ironsofcanada 5:33 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Manuel 5:26 Wed Sep 28

I do because it would mean we scored, pretty simple. If you don't, I think you are supporting West Ham in a very strange way.

Manuel 5:26 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Couldn't give a monkies if he dances or not, ffs, let's just hope he plays well, it's about time.

ironsofcanada 5:05 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Since dancing meant scoring, I would love to see it Saturday.

Manuel 4:53 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Well hopefully he will be doing a bit more than dancing on Saturday for our 50 mil. If he's rubbish again I suppose it will be Moyes's fault!

ironsofcanada 4:32 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Watching him dance with Neymar and co. after the goals is a bit surreal.

ironsofcanada 4:25 Wed Sep 28
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Played a half wide-ish left for Brazil in a 5-1 win over Tunisia in Paris.

Had a couple medium range shots that he missed after creating space for himself.

Was involved in the build up, passing out of traffic, in one of the goals before being subbed at half.

factory seconds 4:13 Tue Sep 20
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
does seem odd that we spent £60m to reinforce the position that we were most stacked in. lanzini is a 10 but has to play as a central midifielder to get a game. benrahma is a 10 but has to play as a winger to get a game, fornals is a 10 but has to be as james milner style utility lumper at wingback to get a game, vlasic is a 10 but wasn't allowed on the pitch unless we were playing some latvian farmers and has now been fucked off to italy.

now we have another 10 who comes with world class pedigree but yet he's performing very similarly to all of the above. it's almost like it wasn't any of their problem and playing in a rigid, dogmatic and predictable system stifles creatively expressive players.

moyes probably still thinks lingard was the answer, despite him not even getting into forest's first XI these days.

Hammer Oz 2:29 Tue Sep 20
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Watching the game (like others), you could see all the time we get the ball and no fucker up front to pass to.
That way we slow down and the oppo get back as well, no the players fault.
How the fuck Samacca hasn't started is beyond a fucking joke
Oh yep, Ive got an idea. Lets not look like scoring then do a headless chicken routine in the last 20..........

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