WHO Poll
Q: 2023/24 Hopes & aspirations for this season
a. As Champions of Europe there's no reason we shouldn't be pushing for a top 7 spot & a run in the Cups
b. Last season was a trophy winning one and there's only one way to go after that, I expect a dull mid table bore fest of a season
c. Buy some f***ing players or we're in a battle to stay up & that's as good as it gets
d. Moyes out
e. New season you say, woohoo time to get the new kit and wear it it to the pub for all the big games, the wags down there call me Mr West Ham

Alan 1:32 Thu Aug 25
Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
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)

OneAll 6:16 Thu Jun 22
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
if we sell paqueta i wont even bother with this season and probably the next

only1billybonds 11:30 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Hammers chat.


Dr Matt 11:17 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
£100m for Rice
£75m for Paqueta
£5m for Johnson
£11m for Vlasic
£20m for Scamacca

Gives us around £210m to spend.

Could do some damage with that, especially as we’d only need to replace 3 of them. Don’t need a Johnson or Vlasic replacement.

When you think that midfield got outplayed and bypassed for most of last season - getting £175m for 2/3rds of it would be sensational.

Yarmouth 11:01 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Thats Paqueta gone then. If they offer anything like the money thats being rumoured the dwarf will bite their arm off.

So, Rice gone, Paqueta gone & Moyes stays to ruin another season in the league and out of the Europa within the 1st 2 rounds.

Welcome to West Ham United, 2023/24 lads.

twoleftfeet 8:00 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Just random stories, it’s all bullshit.

£70m 🤣🤣🤣

£100m easily.

Texas Iron 7:46 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
He would improve any Team he joined…

Based on recent transfers to top Prem teams he should be …

…110 million plus…at least…

Britannia Pub 6:11 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
If Paqueta was to be sold as well as Rice the crowd problems vs Burnley a couple of years ago will seem small fry.

Alan 6:07 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED

Newcastle ‘prepare record bid’ for West Ham star as Romano plays down Tonali reports

Newcastle United are ready to break their transfer record in order to sign West Ham attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta, according to reports.

The Magpies are looking to make some marquee signings this summer after qualifying for the Champions League by finishing fourth in the Premier League in the season just gone.

They have already been linked with a number of high-profile players and now a report in Spanish publication Fichajes insists that they are hoping to sign West Ham’s Paqueta.

The Brazilian made a good impression in his first season at the London Stadium with five goals and three assists in all competitions as he helped the Hammers win the Europa Conference League.

It is claimed that Newcastle are now readying a ‘a record bid’ for 25-year-old – who moved from French club Lyon in the summer – as Eddie Howe continues his idea to bet ‘on players already proven in the main European leagues’.

Newcastle would need to pay over the £63m they gave Real Socieded to bring Alexander Isak to St James’ Park to make it a record bid with Fichajes adding that they are willing to put ‘more than 70 million euros on the table to get his signing’.

LJC 5:53 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Newcastle in for him

southbankbornnbred 4:59 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
No media reports that he's broken anything - at least, not yet.

But definitely picked up an injury and left the field 16 minutes before the end - having scored earlier.

Hope he's OK. He needs to teach Scott McTominay how to play alongside him when we waste the Rice money...

swindon hammer 4:47 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Came off injured with a Broken collarbone apparently.

Takashi Miike 2:19 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
was a nice headed goal, vincious jr gets space down the left hand side of the pitch and crosses it to paqueta who places a nice header from about ten yards out

13 Brentford Rd 1:28 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
If he keeps it up then we may struggle to keep hold of him next summer.

Northern Sold 1:25 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Nagel.... Ha ha ha Ha... I thought you was joking !!!! WTF happened there... obv' link taken down I imagine??

Nagel 12:56 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Northern Sold 12:15 Wed Jun 21

Every time I open that link it just goes to a 20 second clip of a young Thai woman who appears to be making a kidnap note, using words cut out of a paper. The football does sound like it's going on in the background though.

Northern Sold 12:15 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED

His goal is around the 3:00 mark for people interested...

fraser 9:41 Wed Jun 21
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Scored and injured his shoulder last night.

Gaffer58 3:54 Sun Jun 11
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
Just wish he would not try to dribble round 3 players 2 yards outside our penalty box, it just puts the shits up me.

VickyPkVillageIdiot 2:06 Sun Jun 11
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED

Iron Duke 2:05 Sun Jun 11
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
He has massively improved over the last 3 months. He was arguably our best player on Wednesday, and played a couple of exquisite through balls. Big players turn up for the big games.

twoleftfeet 2:05 Sun Jun 11
Re: Lucas Paqueta SIGNED
We need to set up a thread for people to apologise on for getting it wrong about many things.

There were some on here saying we would be relegated and had no chance of winning the cup.

The same people who are now celebrating our achievements.

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