Manuel Veth –
It was RB Leipzig’s second signing of the 2019/20 season. In March the club announced that they had finalised a deal for 18-year-old Brazilian left-back Luan Cândido from Palmeiras.
The left-back is supposed to add more depth to a position where Leipzig have struggled this season. The Red Bulls added left-back Marcelo Saracchi from River Plate last summer, but the Uruguayan struggled at times under interims head coach Ralf Rangnick and played just nine Bundesliga games (652 minutes) for Leipzig this season.
“He is an allrounder for the left flank,” Rangnick told the German magazine kicker in March. Although he has not yet played in Palmeiras first team, the left-back has already played for Brazil’s U-20 side — eight games and one goal — and was ranked by the English paper Guardian among the best talents in 2018.
Luan Cândido – What can he add to Leipzig
A fascinating talent then but what can Luan Cândido add to RB Leipzig’s side? As mentioned above, RB Leipzig signed Saracchi last season to add some depth to the position, but the Uruguayan struggled to get past national team player Marcel Halstenberg.
Whether Luan Cândido can right away challenge for the position remains to be seen. The 18-year-old, after all, has not played a single game for Palmeiras’ first team in Brazil’s Serie A. But going by the numbers from Palmeiras’ U-17 side and Brazil’s youth teams there are some interesting indicators of what the winger could add to Leipzig’s side.
First of all, he can play several positions on the left. That will be important given that new RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann prefers a 3-5-2/3-3-2-2 setup. In his tactical formation, he likes to play with three natural centre-backs and two wing-backs rather than left-backs.
Hence, Leipzig will need the equivalent of new Borussia Dortmund signing Nico Schulz on the flank. A fast winger, who is defensively sound but can also break into the attacking third. Hence, for Leipzig to sign a wing-back, who is compared with Marcelo makes sense, in particular, because Brazilian left-backs are more known for their attacking acumen rather than their defensive proficiencies.
Luan Cândido – By the numbers
Nagelsmann’s setup might be ideal for Luan Cândido. When it comes to goals per 90 minutes Luan Cândido, in fact, leads the charge of Leipzig’s current setup. The winger scored 0.35 goals per 90 minutes last season, more than Halstenberg (0.11) and Saracchi (0).
At the same time, another value also sticks out. Both Saracchi (3.43) and Halstenberg (2.65) completed more dribbles per 90 minutes last season than Luan Cândido (1.14). Those numbers, of course, have to be taken with a grain of salt as 18-year-old has played in Palmeiras’ youth sides where statistical coverage by scouting platforms such as Wyscout can be spotty.
Overall, it appears that RB Leipzig have added an interesting talent to their squad. Whether the wing-back will break into the first team right away or will be sent for further seasoning to RB Salzburg or even the new cooperation partner SC Paderborn 07, remains to be seen. But without a doubt, Leipzig have landed a promising talent.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.