Having featured in all of Portugal’s games, eclipsing the performances of his high profile teammates, including Ronaldo and Nani, Porto’s playmaker is attracting interest from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
AVB will know all about Moutinho, who featured regularly during his record-breaking tenure at Porto. Having been on the radar of several European clubs for years, he has proved in this year’s Euros that he has the talent to mix it amongst the cream of Europe.
His stock is higher than ever, and at 25, now seems like a good time for him to move. From AVB’s perpsective, it’s a shame he had such a good tournament, attracting the interest of Alex Ferguson – who seems resigned to losing the battle for Luca Modric to Real Madrid.
Spurs will face stiff competition for his signature, although the lure of London’s bright lights, and the opportunity to be reunited with the manager that brought such outstanding success to Porto, will make the decision a difficult one for Moutinho.
Spurs themselves, of course, are looking for somebody to replace Luca Modric. Although the two players are different in their general approach, is is not too big a stretch to compare their statistics from Euro 2012 to see Moutinho’s suitability to fill the large hole the Croat would leave.
Modric is the archetypal 21st century playmaker. A Champions League class player. Playing within the midfield and not ahead of it, he weaves and jinks between defensive lines, creating opportunities with incisive passing and excellent ball control in tight spaces.
Moutinho plays slightly deeper (or at least he did at Euro 2012) and is more tenacious and hard-working than the Madrid-bound man. Although his passing is fast and neat, his work is not necessarily in making the key passes, but helping create opportunities for his teammates by working tirelessly to constantly make himself available.
Both players played in all of their side’s games, meaning Modric made 3 appearances and Moutinho made 5. Moutinho averaged 46 passes per game with an 86.5% success rate; Modric 48.7 passes per game, with a success rate of 85.6%. The Portugal midfielder made 2 key passes per game, with Modric making 0.7.
Obviously these statistics show nothing in themselves; there are various factors in a match, individually and in terms of the team as a whole, that cannot be reflected in these numbers. They do however suggest a similar influence on proceedings, perhaps indicating Moutinho’s ability to fill the space left by Modric. Moutinho did, after all, make more passes than any other Portugal player, and completed a higher percentage than any other.
Many would agree he would make a great signing for Spurs, but whether they can capture him before anybody else does is not a foregone conclusion.
Written by Alex Keble, creator of The Chalkboard; a website that provides Premier League match reports with in-depth tactical analysis, utilising statistics and diagrams to explain the weekend’s action.
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