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Gabriel Moscardo: Corinthians' young prodigy high on European transfer wishlists


Gabriel Moscardo

Timão star Gabriel Moscardo has caught the eye of top European clubs as they all look to solidify their no.6 for the next decade. Moscardo has shone in one of the hardest positions in the game at just 17 years old, and Ben Mattinson is on hand to explain why the Brazilian is the defensive midfielder all elite clubs need. 


Gabriel Moscardo Player Profile


Corinthians youth prospect Moscardo is a monster of a ball-winner. He reads the game to a level I’ve not seen from a player of his age. Already, the Brazilian is comfortable defending large spaces for his club - who have been underwhelming in 2023.


This skill is essential for those looking to make it in the game as a 6. A single pivot role comes with a lot of responsibility, which is why the best tend to be older and they all get better with age as they become better at reading the game. Rodri, Casemiro, Palhinha all fine examples.


It takes lots of experience to master the spatial awareness and reading of the game, so for Moscardo to be doing this at 17/18 is almost unheard of.  

Defensive numbers in 2023:

  • 3.33 tackles per 90 (top 6%)

  • 1.47 interceptions (top 19%)

  • 2.55 blocks (top 1%)

  • 3.53 dribblers challenges (top 4%)

  • 1.57 dribblers tackled (top 6%)

  • 1.86 aerial duels won (top 13%)

  • Aerial win rate of 73.1% (top 1%)


Composed on the ball, Moscardo isn't one to shy away from responsibility. He’s confident in possession, often found demanding for it. As a technically secure possession recycler, who’s also a destroyer, he's a very all-rounded professional at a young age.


Moscardo's key strengths


Despite his young age, the Brazilian has great physicality, using his body well to shield the ball. He’s always on his toes, distributing his centre of mass forward so he’s ready to accelerate quicker. This gives him a ‘springiness‘ that allows for the optimal ‘start position’ to anticipate and make interceptions, before bouncing away from challenges.


Carrying the ball forward is where Moscardo shines. When he runs the combination of his strong core muscles for stability, holding off opposition, along with the technical ability with his feet, allows him to move up the pitch with ease.


Moscardo has the type of flair you’d associate with a Brazilian midfielder, especially when in possession. His quick feet and a good turning radius for someone of his height due to his good hip mobility has been a factor as to why European clubs are keen.

The Timão prospect is also a positive forward-thinking passer with the ability to break through the lines with his passes. His long passing (4.31 attempted, 3.23 completed) has been executed with good accuracy - 75.0% (top 14% in Brasileirao).


Corinthians have a low possession average this season with 48.6% and are in the bottom half of the Brasileiro Série A. Considering this, it’s understandable that Moscardo doesn’t have a high volume of passes (42.40 attempted - 84.3% completion). 


Moscardo's leadership qualities


Moscardo has captained Corinthians at youth level and isn't afraid to marshall the older players. He has no fear when it comes to directing them on the pitch, and it's interesting to note he's studying business administration and English at college. A mature head on young shoulders, if you will. 


Corinthians’ 36-year-old captain Cássio has been quick to praise Moscardo’s mentality, calmness and personality. If he remains this level-headed both on and off the pitch, especially early on in his career, he's able to progress to a much higher level.


Transfer links


At the moment, there are three European clubs linked with signing Moscardo in January: Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea.


Chelsea


Chelsea have been in contact with Corinthians but they are a side overloaded with players from the previous two windows in that position.


They’ve already signed Fernández (22), Ugochukwu (19), Lavia (19), Caicedo (21) & Santos (19) - Moscardo would have plenty of direct competition, which may not be the wisest of choice for the Brazilian.


Barcelona


Barcelona are also keen, but are a club with a deep South American connection. They have a lot of attacking midfielders/8s: Gündoğan, De Jong, Gavi, Pedri, Fermín but not many who can play as the ball-winning 6. Romeu (31) and Barcelona B DM Casadó are the names which spring to mind.


Moscardo could be the heir the Busquets’ throne. It's important to note that sporting director, Deco, is also a former Corinthians player - a link which could very much help strike a deal.


Arsenal


Arsenal’s sporting director Edu Gaspar will also no doubt know the right contacts and how to do business with Corinthians. At the North London club, Moscardo could play where Xhaka’s role was as an 8 but out of possession in a double pivot with the DM (Declan Rice).


There's no doubt we'll see more links regarding Moscardo's movement on Moscardo’s as we approach the January transfer window.


With a sky high ceiling, the Brazilian's next move will be crucial for him to continue his upward trajectory, to become one of the best ball-winning midfielders in the world. 

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