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Máté Bajtay writes a comprehensive scout report on Gabriel Boschilia, a promising Brazilian talent at AS Monaco.
Without a doubt, AS Monaco is going through an exciting period in the club’s history. In the early years since Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev took charge of the Principality’s team, the focus was on signing already established, world-class players such as Radamel Falcao, Dimitar Berbatov, Ricardo Carvalho and João Moutinho.
This has shifted now to a strategy based on an extensive scout network located in France itself and increasingly in Portugal and South America. Large investment to youth development and scouting has already made a return in large profits looking at the Anthony Martial, Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia deals, all above at least €20 million. At the moment, the club just cannot stop running out of young prospects and ‘unpolished diamonds’.
Thus, Monaco is considered one of the most exciting teams in the top-level of European football in terms of effective recruitment and young players’ development. Gabriel Boschilia is the latest talent, destined to make an impact.
Born on 5 March 1996 in Piracicaba, Brazil, Boschilia began his youth career at neighbouring club Guarani. The young attacking midfielder was quickly spotted by São Paulo in 2012, rising through the youth ranks all the way to the senior side, totaling 45 appearances and 5 goals. His set-piece skills and great technique earned interest from European clubs and he was eventually scouted by Monaco at the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. He was the leading figure for a runner-up Brazil side with two goals, offering great form throughout the tournament, eager for a European contract.
After his signing to the Principality in the summer of 2015, Boschilia struggled a bit to adapt to the higher physical demands of a European league, and only made 5 appearances in Ligue 1 in the first half of the season. He was loaned to Standard Liège for the remainder of the season, where he showed his quality and excelled in the Belgian Pro League with 10 starts and 2 goals to his tally.
The current season with Monaco is the real competitive breakthrough for Gabriel Boschilia. He has made his debut in the Champions League, is ready to confront Manchester City in the Round of 16 and has had a very promising Ligue 1 season so far. He has netted 6 times in 10 appearances, averaging 61.3 minutes/goal in 366 minutes (!) and equaling 53.57 mins per goal/assist and 1.68 goals/assists per 90 mins. At the end of 2016, Boschilia was named on the 40-strong shortlist for the 2016 Golden Boy award.
On the ball, the young Brazilian is adept at passing both long and short distances, and has a good range of passing and distribution. His footballing intelligence makes him stand out as a special player. Executing smart passes and through balls between defending lines suggests Boschilia is confident with the ball on his preferred left foot.
At Monaco, he has so far been versatile in fitting into the side, especially this season. He has played on either flank of a 4-4-2 formation in a highly offensive capacity, often cutting into the middle, thus creating space for himself carrying the ball. He is also efficient at putting pressure on defending lines when trying to recover the ball. His dynamism and direct approach destines him to even play a second-striker role in a 4-4-1-1 or an advanced playmaker position in a 4-2-3-1. In these regards, he can be easily compared to his compatriot Ganso or Mesut Özil, both of whom play in a similar fashion.
His goal tally this season (15/8 in all competitions averaging 61.3 minutes/goal) has been outstanding, thus he should be encouraged more to shoot from distance and equally, to try one-two’s to get in front of goal more often.
Analysing Boschilia’s earlier career in Brazil reveals he can even be influential in the center of the park, given his outstanding vision and ball distribution, in a more deep-lying playmaker role. Although, that will be more useful to him when his dynamism and ball possession drops a bit, but that’s in another 10 years time at least.
Gabriel Boschilia’s main strength is his technical ability. He has top-level ball possession, sublime 1v1 dribbling skills and a great left foot. It all allows him to execute key passes into the attack, from both long and short range. He is also confident at taking shots, given his impressive 1.8 shot/game ratio totaling 22 in Ligue 1, scoring 6 goals. He has displayed a growing expertise with free kicks too. Looking past the talent, it is clear that a considerable amount of work has been put into practice in this area of his game. No wonder he has scored 3 goals from set pieces already this season. The special left-footed technique Boschilia strikes the ball with is a joy to watch.
Here’s his stunning free kick against Nantes:
His versatility is worth pointing out as well. He is a flexible and intelligent offensive-minded player, who is not limited to one playing position. He can be easily fitted into various formations. Currently, Monaco’s 4-4-2 serves him the best, playing mostly on the left of midfield, where he can exploit his aggression by pressuring ball-playing defenders.
A Mesut Özil type of playmaker’s role in a 4-2-3-1 would allow him to play in a free-flowing role with less defense duties, focusing on sending balls behind the defense and getting in front of goal. Also, he would be able to have more shooting opportunities outside the box by creating space.
His general weaknesses are the ones young talents usually face at the early stages of their career. Boschilia needs to improve in physical strength, standing at 172cm and weighing only 63kg. He certainly struggles with tough tackles and fierce challenges from opponents almost twice his size.
His stamina needs improvement too. No wonder he has made most of his league appearances coming off the bench, thus not playing the full 90 minutes (only played 368 mins in total).
Apart from general defensive shortcomings (especially in aerial duels) of an offensive player, he is facing fierce competition at Monaco in the likes of Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappé or Guido Carrillo. To a player of his potential, it is of immense importance that he plays regularly, preferably the full 90 minutes, collecting experience as it comes. He is where he should be at this stage of his career though, as Leonardo Jardim is a great youth coach, giving so many opportunities for young talents to exploit their potential.
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