With firm interest from Brighton as well as other European sides, São Paolo’s 19-year-old Lucas Beraldo may be on the move this transfer window. Valued around £12m by his parent club, the left-sided centre back has burst onto the scene in 2023, becoming a regular in the starting XI under Dorival Junior.
A key member of the defence
The former Flamengo manager was clearly impressed by his maturity at such a young age, and has gone on to make over 20 appearances in all competitions this season. Having only made his debut in the Copa Sudamericana back in May 2022 against Ayacucho, Beraldo has embraced the step up from youth level, helping his side keep ten clean sheets this season. Noticeably, the 19-year-old has only picked up one yellow card to date in 2023. Left-footed centre backs are a rare breed, let alone ones which possess such composure on the ball, passing range and know their defensive duties inside out. This is Lucas Beraldo’s profile in a nutshell.
Lucas Beraldo's qualities and style
Beraldo has no qualms when it comes to venturing into the opponents half. Due to his extensive passing range, the young Brazilian can effortlessly execute diagonal balls to his winger which is one of his main attacking qualities.
Beraldo will often skip out a short pass if he spots a runner down the left channel. He’s a defender first and foremost, but with the passing range and technique the Brazilian possesses, he will look to help his teammates out at the other end of the pitch as much as possible.
However, if a long ball isn’t on, he’s more than comfortable to carry the ball past forwards hunting him down before calmly picking out a teammate - no doubt a quality Brighton have picked up on and one in which they would expect from their best defenders. As already pointed out, the centre back has only received one yellow card (at the time of writing) this season. He’s rarely seen going to ground due to his perfect positional play, often standing firm when attacking players are running towards him with the ball, having full faith that he’s read the situation spot on. Beraldo’s ability to read the game as well as possessing a good amount of pace means he trusts himself in one on one situations, using his strength to outmuscle forwards who try to bypass him, shielding the ball before either passing the ball back to his keeper.
However, he isn’t afraid of returning the favour with the opposing player, and will often turn past them if an opportunity presents itself.
You’ll often find Beraldo giving opponents little to no room in wide positions, with his tight marking forcing players to knock the ball out of play or pass backwards and look for another opening elsewhere. The way in which he not only wins tackles but comes away with the ball to start attacks is an eye catching quality.
Despite several reports suggesting he’s not the strongest aerially, the six-foot one defender was a real handful at youth level, scoring three goals for São Paulo as well as for Brazil’s U20s. More importantly, his sole goal this season was a powerful header against Vasco Da Gama to effectively win São Paulo the match in the final minutes.
The Brazilian's future
Having popped up out of nowhere, Beraldo has transitioned seamlessly from youth to senior football.
Not only has the 19-year-old been able to handle the pressure, but he relishes the physical side of the game and in true Brazilian style, has tremendous ability with the ball at his feet. São Paulo may be reluctant to sell but with interest growing, especially from Europe, Dorival Junior may have to turn to another centre back for the remainder of the season.